– Asian equities fell in morning trade on Monday as investors awaited China to report export and import numbers later in the day.

The trade data could provide markets further insight on the state of the Chinese economy. Recent economic data, including the latest official and Caixin PMI numbers reported earlier in January, suggested a slowdown in China.

The Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component were down 0.5% and 0.7% respectively by 8:40 PM ET (01:40 GMT). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 1.6%.

Meanwhile, reports that the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) delayed market entry for Visa (NYSE:V) and Mastercard (NYSE:MA) received some focus.

The central bank has not formally acknowledged their submissions even they submitted applications to the central bank more than a year ago, the Financial Times reported citing two people familiar with the application process.

The situation could cause trouble in future trade negotiations between the U.S. and China, the report added.

“One could suspect that it’s because of the trade war, but then again American Express (NYSE:AXP) was approved. Somebody said, ‘Well Amex is smaller, so there’s less impact to the market,’ but nobody really knows,” said one of the people. “There are a lot of variables. We are communicating with the central bank on and off, but there’s no clear reason.”

Elsewhere, South Korea’s KOSPI fell 0.7%. Down under, Australia’s ASX 200 slipped 0.2%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was closed for a public holiday.

In other news, the U.S. government shutdown, now in its 24th day, continued with no resolution in sight. Meanwhile, the U.K.’s vote for a deal for its departure from the European Union is due on Tuesday.

“Expect sentiment to continue to dominate market direction with trades focusing closely on the news channels for the next twist in the various issues that are influencing the market.” said Nick Twidale, an analyst at Rakuten Securities.

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