Asian stock markets were trading lower on Monday (30 January), with those across China, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan being closed on account of public holidays. The bearish trend followed US President Donald Trump's latest executive order banning immigration from seven countries.
On 27 January, Trump banned the entry of people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya into the US for 90 days . He also clamped an indefinite ban on entry of refugees fleeing war-torn Syria.
While this has received widespread criticism, it has also sparked fear among investors that such 'America First' policies could destabilise the rest of the world.
James Woods, an analyst with Rivkin Securities, was cited by Reuters as saying: "Trump always stated these were policies he would implement. Quite a lot of it was brushed off as 'campaign rhetoric' but he is following through...This renews concerns about a trade war with China that would significantly affect both Asian and the global economy."
In Asia, investors were said to be disappointed with Japan reporting lower-than-expected retail sales data. While it reported a 0.6% on-year increase in sales for December 2016, they were lower than the 1.3% forecast.
Investors are said to be keenly awaiting the outcome of the Bank of Japan's two-day monetary policy meeting. The central bank is expected to keep its policy unchanged, which could further raise fears that the country could reduce its stimulus programme, according to CNBC.
Indices in the region were trading as follows at 5.20am GMT:
|Hong Kong||Hang Seng Index||Holiday|
On 27 January, the FTSE 100 Index closed 0.32% higher at 7,184.49, while the S&P 500 index closed 0.09% lower at 2,294.69.
Among commodities, oil prices were down following signs of growing output in the US. As of 12.13am EST, WTI crude oil was down 0.51% at $52.90 (£42.06) a barrel, while Brent crude was trading 0.45% lower at $55.27 a barrel.