Most Asian stocks fell Wednesday while Treasuries retained gains amid concerns about a slower recovery from the pandemic and risks for the global economy from elevated inflation.
Shares retreated in Japan, Hong Kong and China, where the economy weakened on steps to curb a Covid-19 outbreak. Beijing’s escalating regulatory overhaul hurt China’s technology sector and Macau casino stocks. U.S. and European futures were steady after the S&P 500 dipped overnight.
Chinese data showed a sharp slowdown in retail sales growth as virus curbs hit consumer spending and travel during the peak summer holiday break. The debt crisis at China Evergrande is also in focus, with officials notifying banks that the company won’t be able to make loan interest payments due Sept. 20. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield held a fall to about 1.28%.
U.S. inflation was lower than forecast in August but still elevated, leaving the debate about whether prices pressures are transitory unresolved. The dollar was steady. While the inflation print could be seen as reducing pressure on the Fed to start pulling back on loose monetary policy, investors remain wary of a range of obstacles.