Asia Pacific markets traded lower Thursday morning as major South Korean technology names came under pressure.
The Kospi benchmark fell 0.5% as major chip manufacturers sold in early trade: Samsung shares fell 0.88% while SK Hynix fell 0.78%.
July trade data showed that South Korean exports fell 11% year-on-year, slightly better than the 11.3% fall analysts had predicted. In particular, semiconductor exports fell by 28.1%, Reuters reports. Imports fell 2.7% compared to the expected 8.1%.
Thursday's trade numbers came amid an ongoing trade dispute between Seoul and Tokyo.
Last month, Japan imposed restrictions on the export of important high-tech materials to South Korea used by technology companies.
The situation may escalate further if Japan removes South Korea from a list of trusted trading partners who enjoy preferential rights. Prime Minister Shinzo Obe's cabinet plans to join Seoul in removing the so-called & # 39; white list & # 39; which is expected to take effect by the end of August, the Nikkei business reports daily.
Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei 225 hit 0.96% in early trade while the Topix index plunged 0.68%. Australia's S & P / ASX 200 plunged 0.44% as most of the sectors traded lower.
The MSCI Asia ex-Japan index fell 0.4%.
Investors will follow the release of a private survey of Chinese economic activity, with the July Caixin Purchasing Leaders Index, to be released at 9:45 HP / SIN.
Official data released Wednesday showed that Chinese factory activity had contracted for the third straight month of July.
Meanwhile, the US and China wrapped up a round of trade talks on Wednesday and will resume negotiations in Washington in early September.
The two sides conducted "honest, effective and constructive in-depth exchanges" on major economic and trade issues, according to Chinese state-run media Xinhua. The White House said Wednesday that both sides were discussing issues such as the forced transfer of technology, intellectual property, services, non-tariff barriers and agriculture.
U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping reached ceasefire in June at the G-20 summit in Japan after trade talks collapsed in May, leading to a steep US toll of $ 200 billion in Chinese goods.
Overnight, the Fed cut interest rates by 25 basis points in a widely anticipated move, citing "global trends" and "dampening inflation" as reasons. But Fed Chairman Jerome Powell dampened hopes of further interest rate cuts later this year. He told reporters that Wednesday's interest rate cut was not "the beginning of a long series of interest rates."
"Powell suggested that the Fed was not in a long cut cycle and that the cut was aimed at safeguarding global risks, he also added that the cut was not necessarily a one-time cut," Felicity Emmett, of ANZ Research, wrote in a morning note.
"This suggests that the future political path will depend on whether global data is negatively fed back to the United States. So far, the industrial sector has shown weakness in tandem with the global downturn, but the much larger service sector is on hold," Emmett added.
Stocks ended lower on Wall Street overnight: Dow closed down 333.75 points to 26,864.27 while S&P 500 fell 1
Currencies and Oil
The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, stood at 98,615 after rising from levels below 98.1 yesterday.
Japanese yen traded at 108.84 against the dollar after weakening from the 108.5 handle in the previous session. Meanwhile, the Australian dollar changed hands to $ 0.682 after falling from the highs around $ 0.690 yesterday.
Oil prices fell in the morning at Asian trading hours, with the international benchmark Brent crude futures contract falling 1.66% to $ 63.97 a barrel and US crude futures slipping 1.74% to $ 57.56 a barrel.
Here is a look at some of the datasets that were released later today:
- China: Caixin Purchasing Manager Index for July at 09.45 hp / SIN
- Hong Kong: Store data for June at 16:30 HK / SIN  Hong Kong Revenue: Standard Chartered at 12:15 pm HK / SIN
- Japan Revenue: Mitsubishi Corp, Mazda Motor, Asahi Group