SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific were lower in Wednesday morning trade, as investors await a speech from Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Mainland Chinese stocks were lower, with the Shanghai composite down about 0.5% while the Shenzhen component declined 0.56%. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was 0.34% lower.
Hong Kong-listed shares of China Evergrande Group tanked by more than 15% on Wednesday morning after the firm announced a share placement with estimated gross proceeds of 4.3 billion Hong Kong dollars ($555 million).
That came following reports that the company was looking to raise up to $1.1 billion from the share placement. The property developer has been in the spotlight recently amid concerns over its cash position.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped fractionally while the Topix index shed 0.51%. South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.6%.
Meanwhile, shares in Australia were lower, with the S&P/ASX 200 slipping 0.15%.
Over in Southeast Asia, the Straits Times index in Singapore dipped 0.44% after official estimates showed the country’s economy contracted 7% in the third quarter as compared to a year ago.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.11% lower.
Xi speech ahead
China’s Xi is set to deliver a speech in Shenzhen on Wednesday, according to state media reports. That comes as the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone celebrates the 40th anniversary of its establishment.
State media outlet Xinhua reported Sunday that the country “unveiled a new comprehensive reform plan for Shenzhen,” giving local authorities there a “more direct and greater say in business” in areas such as carrying out market-based economic reforms.
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Currencies and oil
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.527 following levels below 93.3 seen earlier this week.
The Japanese yen traded at 105.36 per dollar, having seen levels around 105.3 against the greenback earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7168 following its decline this week from levels above $0.72.
Oil prices edged lower in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.33% to $42.31 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also shed 0.32% to $40.07 per barrel.