Market Talk – Tuesday, Feb. 16

ASIA:

China’s textile and clothing manufacturing suffered losses last year as US consumers and businesses moved away from Chinese labor. The apparel market in the US dropped -23% in 2020, marking a ten-year low. Asian competitors such as Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, and Cambodia saw a 42% rise in this sector last year as suppliers look to move beyond China. The US still has restrictions placed on cotton products produced in the Xinjiang Uygur region due to the clothing allegedly being made with forced labor, causing cotton-related imports to the US to drop by nearly -40%.

A South Korean intelligence agency has reported that North Korean hackers have attempted to steal the formula for coronavirus vaccines. The hackers specifically targeted Pfizer, but some experts are stating the hackers were motivated by selling the data on the black market rather than using it to develop a vaccine for North Koreans. The “hermit kingdom” has not released data on its infection rates, but has ordered around 2 million Astra-Zeneca doses ofvaccines through the COVAX sharing program.

The Confederation of Trade Unions is pushing to provide Hong Kong residents impacted by the pandemic with a second round of HK$10,000 stimulus checks. However, Hong Kong is currently facing a HK$300 billion deficit, causing some lawmakers to question the proposed spending. Earlier in the pandemic, the government provided over HK$310 billion in aid for both individuals and businesses affected by the virus, including a one-time stimulus check of HK$10,000 for residents underprivileged non-residents.

The major Asian stock markets had a mixed day today:

  • NIKKEI 225 increased 383.60 points or 1.28% to 30,467.75
  • Shanghai closed
  • Hang Seng increased 573.09 points or 1.90% to 30,746.66
  • ASX 200 increased 48.40 points or 0.70% to 6,917.30
  • Kospi increased 16.25 points or 0.52% to 3,163.25
  • SENSEX decreased 49.96 points or -0.10% to 52,104.17
  • Nifty50 decreased 1.25 points or -0.01% to 15,313.45
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