The nascent bull case for Asia equities that emerged in recent trading is starting to look shaky.
While Japan is closed for a holiday, key equity markets retreated across the rest of the region, led by declines in Hong Kong and Shenzhen after China released disappointing December trade data and warned of weaker trade growth this year due largely to external uncertainty
The MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan Index fell 0.9 percent as of 5:05 p.m. in Singapore, the most since the first day of trading this year, as Taiwan, South Korea and other markets also declined.
South Korea's Kospi index down 0.5%; Kospi 200 down 0.8%, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 little changed; New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 little changed.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped as much as 1.8 percent to halt a six-day rally, while the Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index fell 0.9 percent and Shanghai Composite lost 0.7 percent.
Singapore's Straits Times Index down 0.6%; Malaysia's KLCI down 0.4%; Philippine Stock Exchange up 1.5%; Jakarta Composite down 0.4%; Thailand's SET down 0.9%; Vietnam's VN Index little changed.