Asian stock markets are down with sharp losses on Thursday following the overnight sell on Wall Street amid worries about rising interest rates and reflecting weakness in technology stocks due to worries about growing U.S.-China tensions. Following the worst market sell-off on Wall Street since February, U.S. President Donald Trump again criticized the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates. "I think the Fed is making a mistake… I think the Fed has gone crazy," Trump told reporters on Wednesday.
The Japanese market is plunging, with stocks losing across the board, following the overnight sell-off on Wall Street and as the safe-haven yen strengthened against the U.S. dollar. The major exporters are sharply lower on a stronger yen. Tech stocks are tumbling, tracking the overnight weakness in their U.S. counterparts amid rising U.S.-China tensions. In the Greater China region, the Hang Seng index was down by 3.9 percent in late morning trade.
Over on the mainland, the Shanghai composite and the Shenzhen composite both opened the day with declines exceeding 3 percent. The Australian market is sharply lower, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index slipping below the 6,000-point mark for the first time since early June. The ASX 200 fell 2.7 percent, with most sectors trading lower. The energy sub-index was down 3.62 percent, materials was lower by 2.48 percent and the heavily weighted financial sector fell 2.38 percent.
The shift in yields is also sucking funds out of emerging markets, putting particular pressure on the Chinese yuan as Beijing fights a protracted trade battle with the United States. China's central bank has been allowing the yuan to gradually decline, breaking the psychological 6.9000 barrier. China's move has forced other emerging market currencies to weaken to stay competitive, and drawn the ire of the United States which sees it as an unfair devaluation. The dollar was already losing ground to both the yen and the euro, as investors favored currencies of countries that boasted large current account surpluses. Oil prices skidded in line with U.S. equity markets, even though energy traders worried about shrinking Iranian supply from U.S. sanctions and kept an eye on Hurricane Michael, which closed some U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil output.
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