Hong Kong, March 20: Asian markets mostly fell Wednesday with nervous investors keeping tabs on developments in the China-US trade talks and the Brexit saga, while awaiting the conclusion of a key Federal Reserve meeting.
A general optimism about the outlook for the tariffs negotiations has helped propel equities higher across the world this year — offsetting concerns about the outlook for the global economy — with both sides sounding broadly positive.
But dealers have been spooked by a report that some US officials are feeling some pushback from Beijing on a number of demands, including on the crucial issue of intellectual property.
The unnamed negotiators said the Chinese side was growing concerned at the lack of assurances that US duties would be removed, according to the Bloomberg story.
While the report also said the resistance was regarded by some as a normal part of talks, it highlighted their fragile nature, with fears already raised earlier this month by the delay of a flagged signing summit between Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will return to Beijing next week to resume talks.
In early trade Hong Kong dipped 0.6 percent after a four-day rally, while Shanghai slipped 0.2 percent though Tokyo recovered in the late morning to head into the break slightly higher.
Sydney fell 0.4 percent, Seoul tumbled 1.1 percent and Singapore was off 0.7 percent, while Wellington and Manila were also in the red.