Asia stocks higher; shares of SMIC in Hong Kong plummet as U.S.-China tech tensions rise

SINGAPORE — Asia markets edged higher in Monday morning trade, despite rising tech tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Mainland Chinese stocks were higher in early trade, with the Shanghai composite up 0.32% while the Shenzhen component gained 0.271%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.69%.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), China’s largest chip manufacturer, plunged nearly 13% in early trade. That came 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.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was little changed while the Topix index added 0.14%. South Korea’s Kospi was 0.67% higher.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 traded 0.51% higher.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 0.49%.

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

Oil prices slip

Oil prices slipped in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.59% to $42.41 per barrel. U.S. crude futures declined 0.63% to $39.52 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.838 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 $0.7291 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