Theresa May is facing a crunch week as she tries to push through her Brexit deal for a third time, with reports that some of her cabinet colleagues are plotting to oust her (Emmanuel DUNAND)

Hong Kong (AFP) – Asian markets plunged Monday after a sharp sell-off on Wall Street fuelled by concerns about the global economy and a possible recession in the United States.

There appeared to be very little reaction to news that an investigation found no evidence of collusion between Donald Trump’s election campaign and Russia, which observers said removed some uncertainty from markets.

After a broad-based rally since the start of the year built on hopes for China-US trade talks and a more dovish Federal Reserve, dealers have been spooked by signs of a worldwide slowdown.

US and European equities went into reverse Friday as the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds fell below those for three-month notes — the first time this had happened since before the global financial crisis in 2007.

This so-called inverted yield curve shows investors are more willing to buy long-term debt — usually considered higher risk — as they consider the short-term outlook more risky.

The yield curve is closely watched since it has inverted prior to recessions in recent decades.

The rush to the 10-year US bond market followed weak manufacturing data out of the US, eurozone giant Germany and France.

That came days after the Fed’s announcement that it was unlikely to lift interest rates this year owing to unease about the US and global economy.

“Realistically, the European data has generally been poor for most of the year anyway, so this in itself isn’t news,” said OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley.

“The US data has been middling, but both confirm what everyone already knew, the global economy is slowing down after a 10-year quantitative-easing-induced bull run,” he added, referring to the massive programme of post-crisis stimulus.

– ‘Be prepared for a tough week’ –

All three main indexes on Wall Street ended sharply down Friday, while London and Frankfurt both finished two percent off.

The losses filtered through to Asia this week. Tokyo was hammered 3.0 percent as the yen, which is considered a safe haven in times of turmoil, held on to Friday’s advance against the dollar.

Hong Kong and Shanghai both closed two percent off, while Sydney shed 1.1 percent, Singapore dropped 1.4 percent and Seoul sank 1.9 percent.

There was also heavy selling in Wellington, Manila, Taipei and Jakarta.

In early trade London fell 0.5 percent, Frankfurt dived 0.4 percent and Paris shed 0.9 percent.

“Investors should be prepared for a tough week as we close out March and the first quarter,” warned Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com.

“The bond market has been trying to speak for a while now but it’s been shouted down by the equity market rally — until now.”

On Monday, a survey by the National Association for Business Economics found US economists were growing increasingly concerned about the US outlook, cutting their growth forecasts and warning that the chances of recession were increasing.

On currency markets, the pound was facing pressure with Prime Minister Theresa May’s political future hanging in the balance as she looks to push her Brexit deal through parliament for a third time.

She has been given until April 12 by EU leaders to win backing for the agreement or find a viable alternative that could include a lengthy extension to the final divorce.

However, there are reports that members of her own cabinet are plotting to oust her and were planning to confront her at a crucial meeting later Monday.

On oil markets, the prospect of a global slowdown dug into prices, with both main contracts extending the losses of more than one percent suffered on Friday.

The losses sent regional energy firms tumbling, with Hong Kong-listed CNOOC diving 4.1 percent, while Inpex in Tokyo was 3.8 percent lower and Sydney-based Woodside Petroleum 2.8 percent off.

– Key figures around 0820 GMT –

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 3.0 percent at 20,977.11 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 2.0 percent at 28,523.35 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 2.0 percent at 3,043.03 (close)

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.5 percent at 7,168.43

Dollar/yen: UP at 110.03 yen from 109.93 yen at 2130 GMT on Friday

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3167 from $1.3210

Euro/pound: UP at 85.79 pence from 85.59 pence

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1309 from $1.1306

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 37 cents at $57.67 per barrel

Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN 32 cents at $66.71 per barrel

New York – DOW: DOWN 1.8 percent at 25,502.32 (close)

Disclaimer: This story is published from a syndicated feed. Siliconeer does not assume any liability for the above story. Validity of the above story is for 7 Days from original date of publishing. Content copyright AFP.