TOKYO, July 3 2018 : Asian shares dropped in tentative morning trade today as sentiment remained fragile in the face of tense trade relations between the United States and major economies, with investors braced for another potentially rocky day for Chinese markets.
Investors, worried the trade row could derail a rare period of synchronized global growth, have pulled out of riskier assets in the past month or so.
The Asia Pacific MSCI index ex-Japan dropped 0.66 percent on early trade today, while Japan’s Nikkei average was little changed.
In China, the Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.23 percent and the blue chip index fell 0.19 percent.
Beijing is expected to respond with tariffs of its own on U.S. goods as the trade fight between the world’s two biggest economies threatens to damage global trade and investment.
“I detected increasing alarm over trade tensions and a lot of nervousness about a full blown trade war, which comes at a bad time for China where the economy is undergoing a downdraft at the same time the United States is seeing a sharp upturn,” said Aninda Mitra, Singapore-based senior sovereign analyst at BNY Mellon Investment Management, who visited Shanghai last week.
“There is undoubtedly cause for concern, but not alarm on the prospects for the Chinese yuan. A lot of people are not thinking through the range of outcomes and the limitations on policy flexibility from a seemingly inexorable slide into an escalating trade war.”
Yesterday, the Chinese yuan, fresh off its worst month on record, lost more ground against the dollar to close at 6.6660. In early deals today, the yuan came under more pressure.
The euro was fetching $1.1630 after shedding 0.45 percent overnight.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) holds its monthly policy meeting later today and is considered certain to maintain rates at 1.5 percent, where they have been since mid-2016.
Focus was on whether the RBA makes a mention of the recent U.S.-China trade tensions.
The Aussie was steady at $0.7338 after dropping to $0.7311 overnight, its lowest since January 2017.
Oil prices bounced back in early Asian trade today, with Brent crude rising 0.41 percent to $77.30 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up 0.32 percent to $73.94 a barrel. – Reuters