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  • Asian stocks drop, tracking the overnight losses on Wall Street.
  • The US blacklisted Chinese forms for human rights violations.  
  • The latest move by the US has dimmed hopes of a breakthrough trade deal.  

Asian stocks are losing altitude at press time, as the US-China trade tensions are showing no signs of ebbing.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan is currently down more than 0.20%. The Shanghai Composite is flatlined, having hit a five-week low 2,891 in the early trade. Benchmark indices in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and Hong Kong are also flashing red.

The US stocks fell in overnight trade after the US blacklisted 28 Chinese firms for human rights violations and banned visas for Chinese officials linked to the mass detention of Muslims in the Xinjiang province.

The US Director of Trade Peter Navarro said that the latest move is not related to trade. The timing of the move, however, could complicate trade negotiations scheduled to begin later this week.

Focus on Fed minutes

The Federal Reserve’s minutes from its mid-September meeting, scheduled for release at 18:00 GMT, will shed light on whether the policymakers saw the need for aggressive easing in the near term.

The central bank in September delivered the second 25 basis point rate cut of 2019. More importantly, traders are pricing in a more than 70% chance of the Fed reducing rates by 25 basis points at the Oct. 30 meeting.

Asian stocks will likely pick up a bid on Thursday if the Fed minutes sound more dovish than expected.