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Asian Equities Fall; Hong Kong Records Retail Sales Slump Amid Political Unrest

Investing.com - Asian markets fell in morning trade on Thursday. Hong Kong stocks traded lower after data showed the city’s retail sales declined by the most on record as months of protests took an increasing toll on the city’s economy.

The value of retail sales slumped 23% year-on-year in August, while visits from Mainland China fell 42% during the month.

Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan said back in September that the city’s economy likely entered a technical recession in the third quarter. Chan added that more stimulus could be added by the government if needed.

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) said in a report cited by Bloomberg that there has been an outflow of Hong Kong dollar deposits totalling up to $4 billion to Singapore as of August.

“We found modest net outflow from HKD deposits in Hong Kong and modest net inflow of FX deposits in Singapore,” analysts Gurpreet Singh Sahi and Yingqiang Guo wrote in a note to investors late Monday. “We believe the debate on Hong Kong outflow/liquidity will remain active and the data points for September (and beyond) critical in shaping the same.”

The Hang Seng Index traded 0.4% lower by 10:52 PM ET (02:52 GMT) following the release of the weak data.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 slumped 2.0%, while Australia’s ASX 200 lost 1.9%.

Markets in South Korea and China are closed for holidays.

Also putting pressure on Asian stocks today was the announcement from the U.S. that it is imposing more tariffs on European goods.

Washington said overnight that it would slap a 10% tariff on European-made Airbus planes and 25% duties on French wine, Scotch and Irish whiskies and cheese from across the continent.

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