Hong Kong: Asian stocks mostly fell Monday morning, as US President Donald Trump lashed out at "not fair and open" trade practices and China's central bank governor warned of excessive debt.
Trump began his marathon Asia tour in earnest Monday by criticising the trade relationship with Japan, saying that the close Washington ally had been "winning" for decades at the expense of the United States.
In particular, Trump's criticism of "massive trade deficits" was likely to concern Asian exporters.
Markets were already nervous over the prospect of escalation in rhetoric -- or even further missile and nuclear tests -- from Pyongyang during the US president's visit.
Trump is due to visit Seoul from Tuesday to Wednesday, and at the weekend issued a stern warning that "no dictator" should underestimate the United States, without directly mentioning North Korea's Kim Jong-Un.
Meanwhile China central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan issued his latest warning about "hidden, complex, sudden, contagious and hazardous" threats to his country's economy caused by excessive leveraging, Bloomberg reported.
"High leverage is the ultimate origin of macro financial vulnerability," wrote Zhou in an article run on the People's Bank of China website Saturday, signalling that tight government regulation on debt is unlikely to ease up now the key Communist Party congress has ended.
Hong Kong shares were down 1.3 percent while Shanghai had shed 0.4 percent in early Monday trade.
Also down were Seoul by 1.0 percent, Taiwan by 0.1 percent and Sydney by 0.2 percent.
Tokyo was broadly flat, with the weak yen helping traders brush off Trump's criticism. A weaker yen against the dollar is good for the profits of Japan's exporting firms.
Tokyo investors were also encouraged by gains on Wall Street and brisk corporate results reported recently by Japanese companies.
Wall Street stocks finished at fresh all-time highs Friday, with technology shares especially sky-bound following a solid US jobs report and strong Apple earnings.
All three US indices ended at records, with the Nasdaq gaining the most and the Dow notching its 56th record high of 2017 as third-quarter earnings season entered the home stretch.
Elsewhere oil futures continued to rally Monday, with WTI crude prices building on a two-year high set last week.
Prices have risen on growing global demand and OPEC-led supply curbs, with traders now closely monitoring the impact of a sweeping crackdown in oil-rich Saudi Arabia, which included the arrest of billionaire investor Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.