Economic data, Brexit negotiations, trade war

Shares in Hong Kong rose on Thursday, while those in the rest of Asia were mixed following cautious trade overnight in the U.S. and Europe.The Hang Seng Index jumped 0.65%, with shares of property developers rising after the city’s leader Carrie Lam announced on Wednesday measures to ease a housing shortage and calm anti-government protests.Hong Kong property stocks that saw big moves included:Mainland Chinese markets were mixed: The Shanghai composite was 0.05% lower, the Shenzhen composite rose 0.13% and the Shenzhen component was up 0.1%.Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 inched up 0.16%, while the Topix was down by 0.23%. South Korea’s Kospi and Kosdaq were down by 0.11% and 0.28%, respectively.Meanwhile, shares in Singapore were 0.16% lower. The Southeast Asian country, which recently dodged a technical recession, said on Thursday its non-oil domestic exports slipped by 8.1% in September — worse than the 7% forecast in a Reuters poll. That’s the seventh straight month of exports contraction in Singapore, according to Reuters.Over in Australia’s ASX 200 slipped 0.07% as the materials sector fell 1.33%. Shares of BHP Group, the world’s largest miner, fell 2.39% after the company said its iron ore production for the third quarter dipped slightly due to a planned maintenance at a key port, reported Reuters. The miner maintained its fiscal 2020 iron ore production forecast, Reuters said.In economic news, employment in Australia rose by 14,700 in September, Reuters reported, citing the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The figure is lower than the 15,000 that analysts in a Reuters poll had projected.The Australian dollar rose after the the release of the employment report, trading at $0.6785 — around 0.4% higher than the previous day.Focus on BrexitThe session in Asia follows an overnight session where U.S. stocks slipped on weak economic data while European equities traded without any real direction as investors sought guidance over Brexit negotiations.”Markets were dominated by Brexit speculation and headlines, while US data were mixed,” Kishti Sen from ANZ Research wrote in a morning note.”Whether a (Brexit) deal can be agreed in time is finely balanced. The most recent headlines were positive on the Irish issue, though “issues remain”. A no-deal Brexit looks to be off the table,” Sen added.Brexit negotiations hit a wall on Wednesday, the last day of talks before an important European Union summit. The BBC cited a government source and said there will be “no deal tonight” as officials continue to work on the technical details of the negotiation in Brussels.The deal would have to be approved by the EU, and then by the U.K. Parliament. If it is not approved by Oct. 19, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is legally obliged to ask the EU for an extension to the current departure date of Oct. 31.The British pound traded at $1.2822 after climbing from levels below $1.2300 last week.Elsewhere, the dollar last traded at 97.988 against a basket of its peers, dipping from levels near 98.400 reached earlier this week. The Japanese yen, which is considered a safe-haven asset, changed hands at 108.81 per dollar, weakening from around 107.400 last week.What’s on tap:Hong Kong is scheduled to release trade data for September

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