Asia Pacific markets fell Monday morning as investors remained cautious over global growth prospects and awaited a speech from Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Xi’s opening speech will kick off the week-long China International Import Expo that promotes the world’s second largest economy as a major consumer of global goods. The event, announced more than a year ago, will stand in contrast to the ongoing trade fight between Beijing and Washington.
The speech comes a day before Americans head to the polls for midterm elections.
Australia’s ASX 200 declined 0.48 percent, with most sectors trading down. The energy sector was off 1.29 percent as oil stocks sold off. Shares of Santos fell 1.08 percent, Oil Search was down 1.17 percent and Woodside Petroleum declined 1.84 percent.
Oil prices will be closely watched as U.S. sanctions on Iran are set to snap back in place on Monday.
Last week, reports said that President Donald Trump‘s administration will grant eight jurisdictions special exceptions to continue importing oil from Tehran, with the idea that they will gradually reduce their purchases over time. Oil prices fell last Friday on the back of that news as investors remained concerned about oversupply in the market.
U.S. crude traded down 0.35 percent at $62.92 a barrel Monday morning.
Central banks in the United States, Australia and New Zealand are set to meet this week.
“There is not expected to be any change in policy from either central bank. But we continue to expect the Fed to lift interest rates 25 bpts in December to 2.50 (percent),” Richard Grace, chief currency strategist and head of international economics at the Commonwealth Bank, wrote in a morning note.
Slowing global growth remains a concern for investors — last month, the International Monetary Fund cut global growth forecast, citing trade tensions between the U.S. and its trading partners.
There have been other indications of a slowdown in growth momentum, including a decline in Purchasing Managers Indexes, an indicator of economic health in the manufacturing and services sectors, across much of Asia, according to Felicity Emmett from ANZ Research.
“In an environment of cooling growth and declining liquidity, market volatility seems unlikely to decline to the soporific days of old any time soon,” Emmett said in a morning note.
In the currency market, the dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of its peers, traded at 96.408, down from an earlier high of 96.443.
— CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.