TOKYO, Aug 2 2018 : Asian stocks were little changed today, with sentiment fragile after the latest escalation in Sino-U.S. trade war while global bond markets were rattled by Washington’s increased borrowing and Japan’s new tolerance for higher yields.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was off less than 0.1 percent in early trade while Japan’s Nikkei .N225 was flat.
Yesterday, the U.S. administration increased pressure on China for trade concessions by proposing a higher 25 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe is down 0.33 percent so far this week, reversing the gains in the previous four weeks, with Chinese shares taking the brunt.
While industrial shares fell 1.3 percent on trade worries, technology shares were boosted by strong earnings from Apple (AAPL.O).
The Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged yesterday, as expected, characterizing the U.S. economy as strong and staying on track to increase borrowing costs in September and likely again in December.
While that surprised nobody, U.S. bond yields rose, with the benchmark 10-year yields breaking above three percent to 2 1/2-month highs, after the U.S. Treasury said it will boost borrowing in the bond market in the coming quarter.
Global bond markets were rattled also by sharp rises in Japanese bond yields since the Bank of Japan loosened its grip on long-term yields on Tuesday.
The 10-year Japanese government bond yields rose to 1 1/2-year high of 0.145 percent today.
Worries that higher Japanese yields may prompt Japanese investors to repatriate funds hit European bonds, boosting German and French yields to seven-week highs yesterday.
In the foreign exchange market, major currencies were little moved.
Brent crude futures rose 0.2 percent to $72.56 per barrel after 2.5 percent fall the previous day.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures edged up 0.3 percent to $67.86 a barrel after yesterday’s 1.6 percent fall. – Reuters