SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific declined in Friday trade, as simmering tensions between Ukraine and Russia continue to keep investors on edge.
Mainland Chinese stocks slipped in early trade as the Shanghai composite slipped 0.49% and the Shenzhen component edged 0.521% lower. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 0.94%.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 shed 1.46% in morning trade while the Topix index dipped 1.15%. Over in South Korea, the Kospi fell 0.82%.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 slipped 1%.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.79% lower.
The ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis is at a pivotal moment, with Kyiv accusing pro-Moscow separatists of attacking a village near the border.
Fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine have driven investors toward safe-haven assets such as gold. Spot gold was last at $1,895.36 per ounce, following its ascent earlier in the week from below $1,860.
The Japanese yen, also commonly seen as a safe-haven asset, traded at 114.93 per dollar — stronger than levels above 115.6 seen against the greenback earlier this week.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 622.24 points to 34,312.03. The S&P 500 shed 2.12% to 4,380.26 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 2.88% to 13,716.72.
Currencies and oil
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.847 after declining from above 96 earlier this week.
The Australian dollar was at $0.718, off levels above $0.72 seen earlier in the week.
Oil prices were lower in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.62% to $92.39 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.65% to $91.16 per barrel.