Stocks in Asia were mainly lower on Thursday, ahead of a key speech by Fed Chair Powell at Jackson Hole Symposium Friday. The sentiment was dented by fears over the spread of the Delta strain and a renewed tension between Beijing and Washington. US Vice President Kamala Harris charged China with bullying its Southeast Asian neighbours, while China accused the US of meddling in regional affairs and disrupting the peace. Stocks in Hong Kong led the losses, tumbling by nearly 1.7% and falling for the 2nd session. The Shanghai Composite fell (-1.1%) after finishing at a near 1-month high on Wednesday. Shares in South Korea fell for the first time in four sessions (-0.6%) after the country’s central bank raised its key rate for the first time in nearly 3 years. The ASX was down 0.5%, as a daily record of virus cases in Sydney put parts of the city’s health system under pressure. Meantime, the Nikkei 225 was almost flat, as Japan put eight more prefectures under its state of emergency.