Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed in Thursday afternoon trade as mounting U.S.-China tensions weighed on investor sentiment.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.69%.
Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index shed 0.51%.
Rising U.S.-China tensions
Developments on U.S.-China relations likely continued to be monitored by investors, as tensions between the two economic powerhouses mount.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Congress on Wednesday that Hong Kong was no longer autonomous from China, raising questions over the special administrative region’s favorable trade relationship with the U.S. as well as opening up the possibility of sanctions on Chinese officials. Pompeo’s comments came following the proposal of a national security law from Beijing that has spurred protests in Hong Kong.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday also passed legislation condemning China for the detention and torture of Uighur Muslims in the country’s western region of Xinjiang.
Oil prices drop
Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures declining 3.08% to $33.67 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also fell 4.33% to $31.39 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 98.929 after seeing levels above 99.6 earlier in the trading week.
— CNBC’s Tucker Higgins contributed to this report.