Asian shares mixed after Trump’s latest trade comments; yen strengthens

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Asian stocks were mixed in early Tuesday trade after U.S. President Donald Trump fired a fresh salvo in the ongoing trade spat between the U.S. and China.

Trump said on Monday that he had asked the U.S. Trade Representative to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese products that will be subject to additional tariffs of 10 percent. Those tariffs will take effect if China did not “change its practices,” Trump added in a statement.

Asian markets were mixed on the back of the news, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 down 0.44 percent while South Korea’s Kospi hovered around the flat line. Australian stocks tacked on 0.31 percent.

U.S. stock index futures, meanwhile, were lower on the back of Trump’s comments, with Dow Jones industrial average futures down 152 points in early Asia trade. S&P 500 e-mini futures were lower by 0.57 percent.

Safe-haven plays like the Japanese currency firmed. The yen traded at 110.14 to the dollar at 7:57 a.m. HK/SIN, compared to the 110.5 handle seen during the New York session.

Trump’s Monday comments came after the U.S. on Friday announced that it would impose a 25 percent tariff on up to $50 billion of Chinese products. Tariffs on an initial list of goods worth some $34 billion will kick in on July 6.

In response, China announced tariffs on the same total value of products, with duties on $34 billion of U.S. goods expected to be implemented in July.

On the commodities front, oil prices slipped after advancing on Monday. Analysts attributed the last session’s gains to reports that oil producers were discussing a smaller-than-expected increase in production.

Output cuts holding back some 1.8 million barrels per day have been in place since 2017 in a bid to prop up prices. Oil exporters, including Saudi Arabia and Russia, will meet in Vienna later this week to discuss those production limits.

Brent crude futures were lower by 0.4 percent at $75.04 per barrel and U.S. crude futures edged down by 0.41 percent to trade at $65.58.

Meanwhile, in corporate news, Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings sued Xerox on Monday for more than $1 billion after the latter dropped a proposed merger in May. Fujifilm shares slipped 0.68 percent in early trade.

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