SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian markets were mostly lower on Tuesday after the International Monetary Fund trimmed its global outlook for 2019 and 2020. The downgrade came after China said its economy grew at the slowest pace in 30 years in the last quarter of 2018. Wall Street was closed for a holiday on Monday.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index shed 0.7 percent to 20,573.28 and the Kospi in South Korea sank 0.7 percent to 2,110.62. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.0 percent to 26,921.49. The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.7 percent to 2,591.37. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 slipped 0.6 percent to 5,852.50. Shares fell in Taiwan and Singapore but rose in the Philippines.
GLOBAL GROWTH: On Monday, the International Monetary Fund cut its 2019 global growth estimate to 3.5 percent from 3.7 percent, citing trade tensions and rising interest rates. It also revised its estimate for 2020 to 3.6 percent, down from 3.7 percent. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, who presented the forecasts at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said the global economy was growing more slowly than expected amid rising risks. Earlier in the day, China reported its economy expanded by 6.6 percent in 2018. This was the slowest pace of growth since 1990 and it fueled fears a trade dispute with Washington is putting a drag on the world’s second largest economy.
ANALYST’S TAKE: “Against the backdrop of refreshed woes over growth and U.S. markets having been away for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there leaves little to inspire Asia markets,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.
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ENERGY: U.S. crude lost 34 cents to $53.70 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 3.3 percent to $54.04 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 47 cents to $62.27 per barrel. It closed at $62.74 per barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar eased to 109.44 yen from 109.65 yen late Monday. The euro slipped to $1.1361 from $1.1366.