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India and Taiwan equities received strong foreign inflows in September due to some local factors, but other regional markets saw outflows on concerns over the US-China trade war and slowing economic growth. Last month, Taiwan's markets received about $2.9 billion of foreign investment, on optimism over its economy, as a growing number of local firms were shifting their factories back home from mainland China, seen as aiding their export revenues.

Indian equities attracted about $1.1 billion worth of foreign inflows thanks to a corporate tax cut announced by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to boost manufacturing and private investment. However, investors withdrew money from other markets on concerns over slowing global trade and the prolonged Sino-US trade war.

South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand recorded outflows of $874 million, $519 million and $379 million, respectively, last month, the exchange data showed. Philippines and Vietnam were the other markets which saw outflows in September. Investors' focus has shifted to the next round of US-China trade negotiations in Washington on October 10-11 to see if the two sides can end a bruising trade war that has raised fears of recession.

"Uncertainty is high and news flow has been mixed, with China's new purchase of US agriculture products coming together with speculation on a potential US crackdown on portfolio flows into China," said J.P Morgan in a report on Monday. At the end of last month, Reuters reported that President Donald Trump's administration is considering delisting Chinese companies from US stock exchanges.

Jingyi Pan, a Singapore-based market strategist with financial services firm IG, expects further turbulence in Asian stocks, saying a lack of positive news from the trade talks may be seen by investors as opening the way for more tariffs. Washington had delayed an October 1 tariff hike as a goodwill gesture ahead of the talks, but has said it would go ahead with the plan from October 15, with another move slated for December 15. "From a valuation perspective, Asia markets should have room to gain. That said, the event risks this month are in abundance which could keep foreign investors on the sidelines until the end of the month when there could be greater clarity," she added.

Copyright Reuters, 2019

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