Market Talk – Thursday, March 4

ASIA:

The latest edition of the Heritage Foundation’s annual “Index of Economic Freedom,” which ranks countries of world’s freest economies, released Thursday, saw Hong Kong excluded from the list it once dominated because its policies are “controlled from Beijing, the agency reported. The news comes on the eve of China’s annual National People’s Congress, which gets underway in Beijing on Friday with greater control over the territory seemingly on the agenda. The United States, its allies and international human rights organizations have heavily criticized China over the law, which they say has undermined the city’s autonomy and helped Beijing crush dissent.

The Nikkei/IHS Markit Services survey conducted shows India’s dominant services activity grew at its fastest pace in a year last month, driven by an extended robust recovery in domestic demand though input costs rose at the quickest rate in eight years. The Nikkei/IHS Markit Services Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 55.3 last month from 52.8 in January, its highest since February 2020, just before the coronavirus pandemic hit the economy. The economic rebound and the solid recovery in manufacturing activity helped boost the composite PMI to a four-month high of 57.3 in February. Still, services firms reduced headcount at the sharpest pace in three months, signalling the bruised labour market will take more time to fully recover. Firms faced the strongest increase in input costs in eight years but were unable to transfer it on to customers as they tried to maintain their market share and stimulate new orders.

Singapore won’t allow diesel-powered cars and taxis to be registered from 2025, five years ahead of previously scheduled, as part of its push to reduce emissions and encourage the adoption of electric vehicles. About 2.9% of passenger cars in Singapore run on diesel, while the proportion is as high as 41.5% for taxis, according to Land Transport Authority figures. Most goods vehicles and buses in the city-state run on diesel and won’t be affected by the new rule, announced Thursday by the government.

The major Asian stock markets had a negative day today:

  • NIKKEI 225 decreased 628.99 points or -2.13% to 28,930.11
  • Shanghai decreased 73.41 points or -2.05% to 3,503.49
  • Hang Seng decreased 643.63 points or -2.15% to 29,236.79
  • ASX 200 decreased 57.30 points or -0.84% to 6,760.70
  • Kospi decreased 39.50 points or -1.28% to 3,043.49
  • SENSEX decreased 598.57 points or -1.16% to 50,846.08
  • Nifty50 decreased 164.85 points or -1.08% to 15,080.75
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