Asian stocks fell on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross suggested the U.S.-China trade deal might have to wait longer until after the 2020 presidential elections.
Ross said in an interview that planned tariffs on Chinese imports will be imposed on Dec. 15 as scheduled unless there is substantive progress in talks.
China's Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.23 percent to 2,878.12 after Trump said there was no deadline for the U.S.-China talks.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 1.25 percent to 26,062.56. Hong Kong's private sector continued to contract in November, and at a faster pace, the latest survey from IHH revealed with a 16-year low PMI score of 38.5.
Japanese shares hit two-week lows amid worries about a delay to a U.S.-China trade deal. The Nikkei average ended down 244.58 points, or 1.05 percent, at 23,135.23, while the broader Topix index closed 0.2 percent lower at 1,703.27.
Exporters were hit hard as the yen held gains against the U.S. dollar. Nissan Motor, Mazda Motor and Sharp Corp lost 1-2 percent. Advantest and Sumco fell around 2 percent in the technology sector.
The services sector in Japan moved back into expansion in November, albeit barely, the latest survey from Jibun Bank showed today with a PMI score of 50.3, up from 49.8 in the previous month.
Australian markets fell sharply as trade war worries deepened and official data showed the Australian economy expanded by an underwhelming 0.4 percent in the September quarter.
Separately survey results from IHS Markit and Commonwealth Bank of Australia revealed that Australia's service sector contracted for the first time in three months in November on subdued sales growth and demand conditions.
The S&P/ASX 200 index tumbled 105.80 points, or 1.58 percent, to 6.606.50 after falling more than 2 percent the previous day to post its biggest single-day loss in two months. The broader All Ordinaries index slumped 104 points, or 1.53 percent, to 6,714.40.
Renewed doubts about U.S.-China trade talks weighed on the mining and financials sectors. Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto fell 2.5 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively while banks ANZ, Commonwealth and NAB gave up around 2 percent each.
Gold miners benefited from safe-haven demand after bullion prices rose over 1 percent on Tuesday. St Barbara and Newcrest Mining rose over 1 percent.
Seoul stocks extended losses for a second straight session as foreign investors extended their selling streak to a 20th consecutive session amid prolonged uncertainties in the global economy. The benchmark Kospi ended down 15.18 points, or 0.73 percent, at 2068.89.
New Zealand shares edged down slightly, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ending down 18.40 points, or 0.16 percent, at 11,209.87.
Malaysia's KLSE Composite index was down 0.2 percent after a government report showed the country's exports fell at a slower-than-expected rate in October. Singapore's Straits Times index was down half a percent.
U.S. stocks ended lower for the third straight session overnight after Trump cast doubt over the potential for a trade deal with China this year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 1 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.6 percent and the S&P 500 gave up 0.7 percent.