Hong Kong: Asian stock markets fell Wednesday after US Democrats launched formal impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump and on renewed trade fears as the president adopted a hard line on China.
In a dramatic move, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry after US markets closed.
Democrats accuse Trump of abuse of power in a reported attempt to pressure the newly installed president of Ukraine to open a corruption investigation into his lead challenger for the White House, Joe Biden, and Biden's son Hunter.
Trump denounced the inquiry as "Witch Hunt garbage" and said he would release a transcript of his phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky.
"The impeachment hearing announcement delivered a knock-out blow to stocks markets already weak at the knees," Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a note.
Concern over US political turmoil added to worries over international trade after Trump ripped into China at the UN, declaring that the time of Beijing's "abuses" of the system was "over".
Touting what he argued were the benefits of his tariff war with China, Trump reiterated his hope that a trade agreement "beneficial to both countries" could be struck.
"But as I said very clearly, I will not accept a bad deal for the American people," he said.
The US political twists and Trump's uncompromising comments ahead of US-China trade talks next month hit markets.
Tokyo closed down 0.4 percent and Shanghai slipped 1.0 percent, while Hong Kong ended 1.3 percent lower.
Seoul also fell 1.3 percent and Taiwan gave up 0.4 percent, while Singapore was trading 1.1 percent lower and Mumbai was down 1.2 percent.
European markets also slid at the open, with London and Frankfurt both down 0.5 percent while Paris shed 0.6 percent.
Oil prices took a hit, with WTI off 0.9 percent and Brent down 1.1 percent following Trump's tough talk on China and after data indicating a build-up in US crude inventories.
"Oil markets continue to sell as risk sentiment remains sour after Trump accused China of currency manipulation, theft of intellectual property and product dumping," said Stephen Innes, Asia Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader.
"Mind you this is nothing shockingly new but coming on the cusp of trade negotiations, it doesn't exactly suggest he's laying down the welcome mat for the Chinese delegation."
In currency trading, the pound slipped against the dollar. It had rallied Tuesday following Britain's Supreme Court ruling that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's suspension of parliament was "unlawful", providing a spark of hope that Brexit will be more orderly than previously feared.
"The ensuing British Pound rally was a bit underwhelming. It probably reflected the uncertainty of both Mr Johnson's tenure and the Brexit process with October the 31st looming," said OANDA's Halley.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Updated Date: Sep 25, 2019 14:51:18 IST