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Stocks fall, Japanese yen approaches 150 per dollar

An employee works at the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), which is operated by Japan Exchange Group Inc. (JPX), in Tokyo, Japan, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022.

Toru Hanai | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Shares in the Asia-Pacific traded lower on Thursday as economic fears weighed.

The The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong fell 2.7% after a brief drop of 3% in early trade, the lowest level since May 2009. The Hang Seng Tech index fell more than 4%.

Kelvin Tay, regional chief investment officer at UBS, said the sharp drop in Hong Kong markets was due to the Chinese government’s “unprecedented silence on key economic indicators.”

“That is largely due to concerns over the economic outlook and a surge in Covid cases amid the party congress in Beijing,” he said.

In Japan is Nikkei 225 lost 1.2% and the Topix fell 0.68%. The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia fell 1.13%.

Mainland China Shanghai composite fell 0.94% and The Shenzhen component fell 1.265%.

South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.27% and the Kosdaq was 1.55% lower. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 1.68%.

The offshore yuan hit a record low against the US dollar overnight, weakening to 7.2745 per dollar. It last traded at 7.2690. The Japanese yen hit another new 32-year low of 149.95 against the dollar.

US stocks fell as government interest rates rose on Wednesday on the state side, with benchmark index for 10-year returns 4.138%, the highest level since July 23, 2008.

The Nasdaq Composite fell 0.85% to close at 10,680.51, while the S&P 500 fell 0.67% to 3,695.16. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 99.99 points, or 0.33%, to end the day at 30,423.81.

— CNBC’s Chery Kang, Jesse Pound and Tanaya Macheel contributed to this report.

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