KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 2018 : Bursa Malaysia opened lower today as the mood across markets remained unsettled by concerns over a further escalation in trade tensions between the US and China.
At 9.05 am, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) was 6.64 points easier at 1,736.79 from Monday’s close of 1,743.43.
The index opened 5.23 points lower at 1,738.20.
On the broader market, losers led gainers 118 to 109, while 132 counters were unchanged, 1,550 untraded and 24 others suspended.
Volume stood at 61.19 million units valued at RM31.44 million.
Meanwhile, Asian stocks extended a global downturn today, while the safe-haven yen rose as U.S. President Donald Trump threatened new tariffs on Chinese goods in an escalating tit-for-tat trade war between the world’s two biggest economies that has rattled financial markets.
Trump warned yesterday that Washington would impose a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods after Beijing’s decision to raise tariffs on $50 billion in U.S. goods. Trump said if China increases its tariffs again in response to the latest U.S. move, “we will meet that action by pursuing additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods.”
The retaliatory moves come after Trump said last week he was pushing ahead with tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.1 percent.
The dollar fell 0.45 percent to 110.06 yen JPY= following Trump’s tariff comments. The yen is often sought in times of market turmoil and political tensions.
“The financial markets are trying to gain a breather after last week, when there were many news events, but U.S.-China trade remains a lingering theme, at least until the U.S. tariffs take effect early in July,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management in Tokyo.
“While trade tensions are not a positive theme, the market has become accustomed to President Trump’s comments, which appear to be negotiating tactics.”
In commodities, crude oil markets remained volatile ahead of Friday’s OPEC meeting at a time when Russia and Saudi Arabia are pushing for higher output.
Brent crude futures fell 0.3 percent to $75.11 a barrel after rallying 2.5 percent overnight. – Agencies