The FTSE is set to extend losses this morning after a 0.4pc drop yesterday, as Asian stocks declined overnight following the partial closure of two of the world’s busiest ports in China.
Markets fear a repeat of last year’s strangled supply chains following the move to shut down parts of Ningbo-Zhoushan port in a bid to contain the rapidly spreading delta variant. The infections risk reaching docks even as shipping rates surge amid huge demand to transport goods as economies reopen.
Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda, said: “The partial closure of two of the busiest ports in the world in China, Shanghai and Ningbo, is likely to be another blow to supply chain disruptions. Those ripples won’t just be felt in China but also globally. The impact has been most noticeable in regional stock markets with a high beta to trade and China.”
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What happened overnight
Most Asian equity markets continued to ignore record highs hit elsewhere in the world and fell in early trading on Friday, though Australia bucked the trend.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.59pc, having closed lower on each of the past three days.
Traders have been pointing to continued worries about the potential for new regulatory crackdowns in China and the fallout from the surging delta variant in several countries in the region.
Japan’s Nikkei dropped 0.6pc.
Korea’s Kopsi dropped 1.45pc with Samsung Electronics falling to a seven-month low on concerns that memory chip prices may start to slip around the fourth quarter.
Hong Kong fell 0.45pc and Chinese blue chips fell 0.21pc.
Australia’s ASX200 rose 0.53pc to a new record high, lifted by healthcare and technology companies.
Overnight, MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe hit a new record high, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 also closed at record highs for the third consecutive day. Big technology stocks drove the market higher as investors warmed to jobs data showing a steady US economic recovery.
Coming up today
- Economics: Trade balance (EU), import, export price index (US), retail sales, industrial production (China)