Shares across Asia opened lower as markets were concerned about the possibility of sustained elevated interest rates worldwide. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 2.8% and Japan’s Topix shed 1.1%. Markets in mainland China and South Korea were closed for holidays. Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia was expected to announce their interest rate decision later in the day, with economists predicting that they would hold the cash rate at 4.1%, an 11-year high.
WeWork, the heavily indebted US property group, disclosed that it had skipped $95 million of interest payments in an attempt to negotiate its financial obligations. WeWork plans to cut its lease costs, which make up a significant portion of its financial obligations, by renegotiating its leases. The company believes that its current rental expenses are out of line with current market conditions. WeWork is currently on the brink of bankruptcy and hopes that missing the interest payments will allow them to engage in discussions with stakeholders.
The UN Security Council has authorized a security mission to combat gangs in Haiti. China and Russia abstained from the vote, while the other 13 member countries voted in favor. Kenya has pledged to lead the mission with 1,000 police officers, and several Caribbean nations have also promised support. The dire security situation in Haiti, with as many as 200 gangs controlling parts of cities and regularly engaging in kidnappings for ransom, prompted the need for a security mission. The US has expressed support for the mission but will not be sending troops.