Asian Market Update – Tuesday: Coins Brush off Potential Commercial Trading Ban in China

Chinese dragon ICO ban

The Big Question: Will cryptocurrencies survive China’s ban?

Prices of cryptocurrencies climbed overnight during the Asian trading session, despite looming news reports out of China that virtual currency trading might be banned in the world’s second-largest economy.

Bitcoin prices gained a slight 0.72 percent to $4,237.69 before midday. That’s a comeback from a day earlier, when the price of the virtual currency dropped to as low as $4,140 following the news that officials are considering shutting down bitcoin exchanges.

Ethereum saw an even larger gain overnight, having climbed 1.26 percent. The digital currency was changing hands at around $300 before midday, following a drop to as low as $294 in early morning trading.

On Monday, several media outlets, citing unnamed sources, reported that Chinese officials have already drafted an instruction to shut down coin exchanges and ban commercial trading.

Though details remain murky, the move would follow earlier decisions to ban issuance of new coins through initial coin offerings or ICO’s. The increasingly hostile attitude out of China toward digital currency could have a severe impact on not only coin trading but on the underlying blockchain technology. It still remains to be seen how the cryptocurrency world will respond and recover from these actions.

Main Market Movers – Mid-day Asian Trading Session

Indexes Value at Midday Daily Change
Japan-Nikkei Stock Average 225 1,9741.42 1.0%
China-Shanghai Composite Index 3,380.33 0.12%
Hong Kong –Hang Seng 27,931.88 -0.08%
Australia-ASX 200 5,761.80 0.85%
South Korea-KOSPI 3,161.78 0.1%

Most major Asian stock indexes edged up on Tuesday, tracking major gains on Wall Street on Monday, as hurricane Irma did not hit Florida with the force that many feared. Also investors seem to be indifferent to tensions on the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday morning, before UN passes fresh sanctions on North Korea.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 added 1 percent, trading at around 1,9741 before midday.

In South Korea, the KOSPI gained a slight 0.1 percent to 3,161.

Down under, the benchmark ASX 200 tacked on 0.85 percent to 5,761.

In Greater China, stocks were mixed, with the Shanghai Composite Index up 0.12 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng down 0.08 percent.

However, worries in the Korea Peninsula lingers as Asia Pacific start to digest fresh sanctions on North Korea passed by the UN just before midday in Asian trading hours.

The new sanctions are targeting the North’s oil imports, textiles, overseas laborers, etc.

Currencies

The Japanese yen gained a slight 0.07 percent against the US dollar at midday on Tuesday. The USD/JPY rate was at 109.31.

The Chinese yuan lost 0.28 percent against the greenback, trading at 6.5436 per dollar. The yuan has been losing against the US dollar since Friday, when USD/CNY was at about 6.4440.

The Australian dollar gained 0.23 percent against the US dollar. The Australian dollar was trading at 1.2482 per dollar.

Commodities

WTI Oil was down 0.12 percent to $48.02 per barrel.

Brent Crude lost 0.08 percent to $53.82 per barrel.

Gold was also down 0.09 percent to $1,325 an ounce.

Business News across Asia

In China, about two dozen dealerships for South Korea’s Kia Motors filed for a compensation claim of 800 million yuan (US$ 122) as they plan to drop out of Kia’s sales network due to poor sales and disputes with the South Korean carmaker.

Take away: Kia’s parent company Hyundai has already been in a tough fight with its Chinese partner BAIC Group over supply issues. Kia’s dealership problem could further trouble Hyundai, which is already seeing some of the worst performance in its shares.

In Korea, all eyes are on the North as the UN Security Council passed what is said to be the toughest sanctions yet on North Korea. The North had already warned against any sanctions.

Take Away: Tensions appeared to be calm over the weekend, as a highly anticipated missile test by North Korea did not materialize. Markets also gained. It now remains to be seen how the North will respond to the new sanctions going forward.

Featured image from Pixabay.

Author:
Fredrik Vold is an entrepreneur, financial writer, and technical analysis enthusiast. He has been working and traveling in Asia for several years, and is currently based out of Beijing, China. He closely follows stocks, forex and cryptocurrencies, and is always looking for the next great alternative investment opportunity.