Published: Sat, June 30, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Shares flirt with 9-month low on mounting trade war fears

Shares flirt with 9-month low on mounting trade war fears

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX-50 index was rising 0.2 percent and remained on track to notch its first record closing high in two weeks.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index remained nearly flat at 22,270.39 and South Korea's Kospi lost 1.2 percent to 2,314.24.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan.MIAPJ0000PUS closed 1.5 percent lower, while Japan's Nikkei .N225 dropped 0.31 percent.

As of the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 165.52 points, or 0.68 percent, to 24,117.59, the benchmark S&P 500 stock index .SPX lost 23.43 points, or 0.86 percent, to 2,699.63 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 116.54 points, or 1.54 percent, to 7,445.09. Wall Street was poised for a subdued open.

China reiterated its opposition to new curbs on investment in the United States, as White House officials tussle over trade policy and the imposition of tariffs approaches.

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E Yongjian, an analyst with Bank of Communications, attributed the weakening of the yuan mainly to a stronger U.S. dollar backed by U.S. economic recovery, the U.S. Federal Reserve's interest rates hike earlier this month, easing policies of European and Japanese central banks and risk aversion sparked by concerns over a worsening trade friction.

Germany's DAX was down 1.2 percent to 12,206 and France's CAC 40 shed 0.6 percent to 5,293. It didn't address complaints Beijing hampers access to promising industries and that plans for state-led development of Chinese champions in electric cars and other industries violate its free trade commitments.

Beijing has announced plans to hike tariffs on USA soybeans, for which China is the biggest export market, in response to Trump's threat of import duty increases on Chinese goods.

"China can offer export subsidies to Chinese companies under the WTO (World Trade Organisation) framework and provide policy support to them", it said. He urged Congress to strengthen existing laws that apply to all foreign countries instead.

"We think China is now very likely to see a financial panic", the NIFD study said. In response, China will raise import duties on $34 billion worth of American goods.

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The impact would be big if these challenges could not be settled, as the WTO is playing a critical role in global trade liberalization and facilitation, said Wang.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "Trump's slightly softer tone seems to have been undermined by a reiteration of the previous harsh tone on trade and investment by his adviser". Brent crude, used to price global oils, rose 18 cents to $77.80 in London. President Trump who withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal in May, is pushing foreign nations to cut their oil imports from Iran to zero by November when sanctions on Iran's energy sector will kick in again.

U.S. crude futures last traded at US$72.50 a barrel, down 0.37 per cent in early Asian trade. The contract gained $2.23 to settle at $72.76 per barrel on Wednesday. The euro ticked up to $1.1584 from $1.1557.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 109.67 yen from 109.45 in late trading Monday.

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