Asian markets were muted on Thursday as anxiety over the state of US-China trade talk continues.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index (HSI) fell 0.3%, while China's Shanghai Composite Index(SHCOMP) inched down 0.1%. Japan's Nikkei (N225) also dipped 0.1%, while and South Korea's Kospi (KOSPI) lost 0.4%.
US-China trade relations continue to worry investors. The two countries have announced tariffs on each other that are to get go into effect on sunday
And although US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin insisted that a meeting with China on trade will still happen, he did not specify when.
Uncertainties about trade still haunt the market, which has created a "waiting game," wrote Jingyi Pan, a strategist for IG Group, in a research note.
The yuan weakened further, despite a stronger-than-expected fixing by the Chinese central bank. The currency has slumped 4% so far in onshore trading this month. On Thursday, it was trading at about 7.16 per one US dollar. In the offshore market, where the currency moves more freely, it was trading at 7.17 per dollar. It has fallen 3.8% so far this month outside of China.
The fixing rate is a band that China's central bank sets every day to limit how much the yuan's value can change. But Thursday's "strong" fix isn't enough to boost the currency on its own, according to Ken Cheung, chief foreign exchange strategist for Asia at Mizuho Bank in Hong Kong. He suggested in a research note that the central bank might have to take stronger action to stabilize the currency.
"Of course reviving hopes for China-US trade talks will also convince" markets that China's policymakers want to stabilize the yuan exchange rate, he added.
Here are some other moves to look out for in Asia at 3 p.m. Hong Kong time: