TOKYO, Sept 12 2018 : Asian stocks were pinned near 14-month lows today, as investor confidence was chilled by the latest round of verbal threats in an intensifying U.S.-China trade conflict.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.05 percent, hovering near its lowest levels plumbed since July 2017 on Monday.
China told the World Trade Organization (WTO) yesterday it wanted to impose $7 billion a year in sanctions on the United States in retaliation for Washington’s non-compliance with a ruling in a dispute over U.S. dumping duties.
Separately, U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters yesterday that the United States was taking a tough stance with China.
Asian equities and the broader emerging markets have continued to sag in the wake of the trade tensions and concerns about the crises in Turkey and Argentina. MSCI’s index of emerging market shares .MSCIEF has fallen to its lowest level since May 2017.
Still, other markets have shown resilience. Wall Street gained yesterday as Apple led a jump in technology shares and a gain of more than 2 percent in oil prices drove up energy stocks.
“In thinking of the prospects of the trade war, it is important to distinguish the journey from the destination. The journey will remain very noisy and unsettling. But I suspect the destination will be less so,” Mohamed A. El-Erian, Chief Economic Advisor at Allianz SE, told the Reuters Global Markets Forum on Wednesday.
El-Erian expects the United States to eventually secure trade concessions. He sees a 60 percent probability of “slightly fairer but and still free trade,” a 25 percent possibility of a global trade war and 15 percent likelihood of a “Reagan Moment” that significantly improves the landscape for international trade.”
In currencies, the dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was 0.15 percent lower at 95.128 .DXY, handing back the previous day’s modest gains.
The euro dipped 0.1 percent to $1.1593 EUR=.
The Australian dollar AUD=D4 was down 0.25 percent at $0.7102 after hitting $0.7085 on Tuesday, its lowest since February 2016, on concerns that any damage to the Chinese economy from a trade war could hurt Australia’s exporters.
The pound eased 0.1 percent to $1.3017 GBP=D4, pulling back from a one-month peak of $1.3087 scaled on Monday hopes over prospects for a Brexit trade deal with the European Union subsided.
Brent crude futures were 0.3 percent higher at $79.31 per barrel after surging more than 2 percent yesterday. – Reuters