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Asian markets fell on Wednesday, tracking losses on Wall Street ahead of China trade data set to be released today.
US equities edged down on Tuesday with the S&P 500 closing down 0.3 per cent on Tuesday and the Dow Jones Industrial average slipping 0.1 per cent.
In Australia the S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.3 per cent, with generic drugmaker Mayne Pharma Group shedding 3.7 per cent after President Donald Trump yesterday tweeted that he is “working on a new system where there will be competition in the Drug Industry. Pricing for the American people will come way down!” Mayne Pharma receives 87.4 per cent of its revenue from the United States
Drugmakers’ shares fell in the United States on Mr Trump’s comments, with Perrigo falling 1.8 percent and Mallinckrodt slipping 3 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was flat, but Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE rose as much as 8.9 per cent in Hong Kong after the company agreed to pay a $1.2bn fine for violating US sanctions following a year of investigations. In China the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.1 per cent.
Japan’s Topix index was down 0.5 per cent as the telecommunications sector sagged.
The Japanese yen rose 0.2 per cent to ¥113.79 a dollar following revised data showing the country’s gross domestic product grew more than expected in the three months to December.
Brent crude, the international benchmark was down 0.5 per cent to $55.67 a barrel as investors were unmoved by comments from the energy ministers of Saudi Arabia and Russia that they would comply with production cuts agreed by Opec and 11 non-Opec countries last year.