Most Asian markets see further losses as trade row rumbles along

25-May-2019 Intellasia | AFP | 6:00 AM Print This Post

The increasingly fractious trade row between China and the United States was the main focus of Asian investor angst Friday, with most markets down to extend the previous day’s steep losses, though oil edged back from a painful sell-off.

With little hope for a quick turnaround in the standoff the economic superpowers appear to be digging in their heels as they exchange barbs, blaming each other for the breakdown in tariff negotiations while the Huawei crisis shows no sign of letting up.

On top of that, investors have been spooked by weak economic data in Europe and the United States that reinforced concerns about a global slowdown, with the IMF warning the trade standoff will “jeopardise” 2019 growth.

“The trade war is going to cause growth to slow, both in the US and China, and therefore globallythere is no doubt about that,” Komal Sri-Kumar, founder of Sri-Kumar Global Strategies, told Bloomberg TV.

“The trade war is taking on new dimensions.”

Having taken a hammering on Thursdaywith energy and tech firms among the worst hitAsian markets continued to struggle Friday.

Tokyo closed 0.2 percent lower, Sydney lost 0.6 percent and Seoul fell 0.7 percent. Singapore and Wellington dipped 0.4 percent and Manila gave up 0.7 percent.

But Hong Kong rose 0.3 percent and Shanghai swung through the day to end marginally higher.

Mumbai climbed 0.9 percent, Taipei and Singapore each added 0.2 percent, and Jakarta and Bangkok both edged up slightly.

In early trade London and Paris each rose 0.6 percent, while Frankfurt added 0.7 percent.

The tepid performance followed a sharp drop on Wall Street, where all three main indexes lost more than one percent. Investors were also spooked by an index of US manufacturing activity hitting a nine-year low in May and Germany posting weak factory figures.

And there are warnings about the outlook for equities as China and the United States continue to hit out at each other.

“China’s stance on the talks has been clearif the US wants to resume talks, they should show sincerity and correct their wrong practices,” commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said Thursday.

– Oil prices edge up –

Meanwhile US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rejected Huawei’s statements about its relationship with China’s government and said any data touched by the company is “at risk” of falling into the wrong hands.

“To say that they don’t work with the Chinese government is a false statement,” he said. Huawei “is deeply tied not only to China but to the Chinese Communist Party”.

Uncertainty on trading floors has fuelled a rally in bonds with yields on the 10-year Treasury touching their lowest level in 19 months, indicating rising demand for the safe-haven assets.

Oil enjoyed a bounce Friday, but only made a slight dent in the huge falls suffered the day beforeWTI shed 5.7 percent and Brent lost 4.5 percentthat were caused by concerns about the impact of the trade war on demand.

Angst over the tariffs row, along with surging US stockpiles and production, has overshadowed tensions in the Middle East, sanctions on Venezuela and Iran and and OPEC output cap.

Sterling inched higher but continued to wallow around four-month lows against the dollar with prime minister Theresa May on the precipice after her revised Brexit deal was widely criticised and much of her party calling for her to step down.

Reports said May would set out her timetable for leaving later Friday at a meeting with party grandees, but markets are increasingly worried her successor will be a hardline Brexiter who will drag Britain out of the EU without a divorce deal.

“May’s departure is fully priced into the pound but what follows from that is not, in particular once wepresumablyhave a ‘hard Brexit’ Tory holding the prime ministership,” said National Australia Bank’s Ray Attrill.

“Markets will almost inevitably have to move to price in a much greater chance of a no-deal Brexit even if this is not what ultimately eventuates, suggesting lower levels ahead for all things sterling.”

– Key figures around 0810 GMT –

TokyoNikkei 225: DOWN 0.2 percent at 21,117.22 (close)

Hong KongHang Seng: UP 0.3 percent at 27,353.93 (close)

ShanghaiComposite: FLAT at 2,852.99 (close)

LondonFTSE 100: UP 0.6 percent at 7,272.82

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2670 from $1.2660 at 2100 GMT

euro/pound: UP at 88.33 pence from 88.32 pence

euro/dollar: UP at $1.1190 from $1.1182

Dollar/yen: UP at 109.50 yen from 109.59 yen

OilWest Texas Intermediate: UP 52 cents at $58.43 per barrel

OilBrent Crude: UP 54 cents at $68.30 per barrel

New YorkDow: DOWN 1.1 percent at 25,490.47 (close)–finance.html


Category: FinanceAsia

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