Asia stocks set to trade lower as U.S.-China tech tensions rise

SINGAPORE — Asia markets were set to trade lower at the Monday open as tech tensions between Washington and Beijing escalate.

Futures pointed to a lower open for stocks in Japan, with the Nikkei futures contract in Osaka at 23,200. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 23,205.43.

Shares in Australia were also poised to dip, with the SPI futures contract at 5,875.0, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 5,925.50.

Investors will watch shares of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), China’s largest manufacturer of semiconductors, after a Defense Department spokesperson said the Trump administration is considering imposing export restrictions on the firm.

SMIC is seen as an important player in China’s ambition to grow its domestic semiconductor industry. The potential move by Washington, first reported by Reuters, would mark a major escalation in the tech battle between the U.S. and China.

On the economic data front, China’s trade data for August is expected to be released at around 11:00 a.m. HK/SIN.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.824 after its ascent last week from levels below 92.0.

The Japanese yen traded at 106.26 per dollar after weakening last week from levels below 105.6 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7283 after last week’s slip from levels above $0.732.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • China: Trade data for August at 11:00 a.m. HK/SIN

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