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Asian Markets Mixed; Sino-U.S. Trade Dispute Remains in Focus

Investing.com - Asian markets were mixed in morning trade on Wednesday as traders digested the latest news on the Sino-U.S. trade front.

China’s Shanghai Composite slipped 0.1% by 10:45 PM ET (02:45 GMT), while the Shenzhen Component inched up 0.1%.

The U.S. officially labelled China as a currency manipulator on Monday, a week after President Donald Trump slapped additional tariffs on Chinese goods that kick in from Sept 1.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) set the midpoint reference for the yuan at 6.9996 on Wednesday. On Tuesday, the central bank set the yuan fixing at 6.9683, the weakest reference point since 2008.

In a statement, the PBOC said the “United States disregards the facts and unreasonably affixes China with the label of ‘currency manipulators,’ which is a behaviour that harms others and oneself.”

The central bank added that it would not only “seriously undermine the international financial order, but also trigger financial market turmoil. It will also greatly hinder international trade and the global economic recovery, and ultimately will suffer from it.”

The yuan has been weakening in recent months amid an intensifying trade war between the U.S. and China.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.9% as political unrest in the city continued. On Tuesday, pro-democracy protesters held a press conference as a response to the government’s new policy of having more frequent press briefings.

Pro-democracy protesters said the government’s speech contained “malicious distortions” and “untruth.”

The three spokespeople reiterated protesters’ “five core demands,” which include a complete withdrawal of the now-abandoned extradition bill and an investigation into police’ violence against civilians.

On the same day, the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) also held a press conference and warned that "those who play with fire will perish by it. And at the end of the day, they will eventually be punished.”

The HKMAO also reiterated that Beijing is confident Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam and Police forces are fully capable of restoring public order.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 1.0%. South Korea’s KOSPI traded 0.6% lower.

Down under, Australia’s ASX 200 climbed 0.4%.

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