Asian shares mixed amid trade concerns as markets attempt to shrug off earlier jitters


Asian stocks traded mostly higher on Thursday, with markets shaking off some of the trade jitters seen overnight after the Trump administration announced a list of Chinese goods that may be subject to new tariffs.

The Nikkei 225 rose 0.77 percent in Tokyo morning trade, recouping some of its declines from the previous session. The fishery and forest subindex led gains in the morning, rising 2.24 percent, while insurers, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications all climbed more than 1 percent.

In Seoul, the Kospi was little changed, trading lower by 0.02 percent as declines in blue-chip tech stocks offset gains in other sectors, including automakers. Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix were down 0.87 percent and 0.81 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 tacked on 0.31 percent in Sydney. Most sectors rose, but declines in the energy and materials subindexes capped overall gains.

MSCI’s index of shares in Asia Pacific excluding Japan tracked lower by 0.25 percent in early trade.

Those moves came after the Trump administration on Tuesday unveiled a list of 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese products. The duties will take effect only after a review process is completed. In response, China threatened to retaliate with “qualitative measures,” Reuters said, with the country’s commerce ministry adding that it would complain to the World Trade Organization.

This latest salvo also came just days after tariffs from the U.S. and China on $34 billion in products from each country took effect on Friday.

“The July 11 announcement by the U.S. reaffirms our view that we are in a protracted escalatory cycle … However, we continue to expect negotiations and de-escalation to remain the end outcome,” Morgan Stanley economists said in a note.

“However, the more protracted the process, the greater the impact on business confidence and capex, which would in turn weigh on global growth,” they added.

Global stock markets declined in the last session on the back of the latest developments in the ongoing trade dispute, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average declining 0.88 percent, or 219.21 points, to close at 24,700.45.

European and Asian equities slumped on Wednesday on the back of the latest ramp up in trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies, which investors fear could negatively affect global growth. The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down 1.2 percent while China markets led the declines in Asia, with the Shanghai composite dropping 1.78 percent.

The dollar was steady after firming overnight amid the jitters, with the dollar index last at 94.710. Against the yen, the dollar traded at 112.06 at 8:06 a.m. HK/SIN after touching a six-month high overnight.

On the commodities front, oil prices retraced some of their steep losses made overnight on the back of trade worries and supply concerns following news that Libya would be resuming exports. Brent crude futures were higher by 0.86 percent at $74.03 per barrel after settling 6.9 percent lower on Wednesday, the largest drop in one day since 2016. U.S. crude futures tacked on 0.26 percent to trade at $70.57.

Here’s the economic calendar for Thursday (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 9:00 a.m.: South Korea central bank interest rate decision
  • 10:00 a.m.: China FDI


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