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Asia stocks decline on China tightening concerns; Nikkei closed

Forex Pros - Asian stock markets were broadly lower in holiday-thinned trade on Wednesday, as shares in the financial and commodity sectors led markets lower amid concern over further monetary tightening by China.

During late Asian trade, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled 1.6%, South Korea's Kospi Composite sank 0.91%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index was closed for a public holiday.

The People's Bank of China said in a first quarter monetary report published on Tuesday that the country's economy faces "increasing pressure from imported inflation." Bank reserve requirements have no "absolute ceiling," the report added.

Shares in the financial sector were lower on concerns of further restrictions on lending. China Construction Bank saw shares drop 1.65%, Bank of China sank 1.6%, while China's largest lender Industrial and Commercial Bank of China saw shares fall 1.5%.

Meanwhile, oil and gas giant PetroChina saw shares fall 1.55%, rival China Shenhua Energy dropped 2.3%, while copper producer Jianxgi Copper Company saw shares slump 2.7%.

Elsewhere, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 1% lower as shares in the nation's second largest lender Westpac Banking Corporation tumbled 3% after reporting first half net profit rose to AUD3.96 billion, falling short of expectations for profit of AUD4.13 billion.

The disappointing results weighed on other shares in the sector, with National Australia Group slipping 2.8% and ANZ Banking Group dropping 1.6%.

Meanwhile, mining giant BHP Billiton saw shares slip 0.8%, rival Rio Tinto slumped 1.6%, while gold producer Newcrest Mining declined 1.5% as commodity prices retreated.

The outlook for European equity markets was mixed. The EURO STOXX 50 futures pointed to a decline of 0.1%, France's CAC 40 futures added 0.05%, the FTSE 100 futures dipped 0.07%, while Germany's DAX futures edged 0.08% higher.

Later in the day, the euro zone is to release official data on retail sales while the U.S. was to publish its ADP on non-farm payrolls report. Also Wednesday, the U.S. Institute for Supply Management was to publish its non-manufacturing PMI.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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