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Markets across Asia plummet on 'Trump risk' jitters

The Republican presidential candidate’s call for protectionism has raised anxiety among investors.

By Elizabeth Shim
Markets across Asia plummet on 'Trump risk' jitters
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's slight recovery at the polls sent markets across Asia tumbling on Wednesday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- As Donald Trump narrowed the gap in polls with rival Hillary Clinton ahead of presidential elections on Nov. 8, markets in Asia plummeted in response to the Republican presidential nominee's resilience among supporters.

Growing uncertainty surrounding the elections has led to a 1 percent overall drop across all major Asian markets, and a depreciation of the U.S. dollar against the Japanese yen, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

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Japan's Nikkei index fell 1.76 percent at closing, and dropped as much as 2.07 percent at 1:47 p.m. on Wednesday.

The Tokyo Price Index, a metric for stock prices on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, also declined by as much as 2.17 percent and closed down 1.78 percent at 1,368.44, according to the report.

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The Taiwan Capitalization Weighted Stock Index declined 1.44 percent and closed at 9,139.04, while the Shanghai Composite Index dropped by 0.63 percent to close at 3,102.73.

In South Korea the KOSPI fell 1.42 percent to 1,978.94, while the KOSDAQ for small and medium-sized businesses fell 3.24 percent to 606.06.

South Korean markets were also visibly shaken by a political scandal centered on President Park Geun-hye's relationship with Choi Soon-sil, a longtime acquaintance who influenced presidential decisions.

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Hong Kong's markets also reacted negatively to Trump's apparent recovery at the polls, with the Hang Seng Index declining by 1.39 percent to close at 22,825.56.

Vishnu Varathan, an economist at Mizuho Bank in Singapore, said nothing good could come about in emerging markets if Trump is elected, referring to the Republican candidate's position on free trade and calls for protectionism.

Chihiro Ota, an investment researcher at SMBC Nikko Securities in Tokyo, said the "Trump risk has returned."

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Market players are worried whether overall U.S. policy would still function properly if Trump were elected, according to Ota.

The Japanese yen has also appreciated in value relative to the U.S. dollar after FBI Director James Comey's disclosure on Friday that more emails were being reviewed related to its investigation of Trump's Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

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