Asian markets fell in early trading Tuesday after the Trump administration sparked trade tensions on new fronts.
President Donald Trump said Monday morning he will reinstate tariffs on Brazilian and Argentinian steel, accusing both countries of devaluing their currencies. Later, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative threatened to impose tariffs of up to 100% on about $2.4 billion in French imports in retaliation for taxes on U.S. tech companies.
“The U.S. administration continues to play the risky game of weaponizing U.S. economic power with tariffs,” Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist with AxiTrader, said in a note Monday. “Also, investors are getting a bit anxious about whether the U.S. will postpone the imposition of more tariffs on Chinese products planned for Dec. 15.”
fell 0.7% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index
slipped 0.2%. The Shanghai Composite
retreated 0.3% while the Shenzhen Composite
dropped 0.3%. South Korea’s Kospi
declined 0.4% while benchmark indexes in Taiwan
were mixed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200
slid 1.9% as the Reserve Bank of Australia kept rates unchanged, as expected.
Among individual stocks, SoftBank
sank in Tokyo trading, as Nissan
and robotics maker Fanuc
also fell. Nintendo
rose after a report that its Switch videogame console were a hit with Black Friday shoppers in the U.S. In Hong Kong, Apple component makers AAC
and Sunny Optical
rose while CSPC Pharmaceutical
and food processing company WH Group
fell. Chip maker SK Hynix
declined in South Korea, as did Hyundai Heavy Industries
, after its planned merger with shipbuilding giant Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co.
ran into regulatory problems in Singapore. In Australia, Westpac
, Commonwealth Bank
and National Australia Bank
U.S. stocks fell their most in about eight weeks on the renewed trade jitters and manufacturing data that showed a continued contraction in November.
The S&P 500 index
fell 0.9% to 3,113.87. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
dropped 1%, to 27,783.04. The Nasdaq
lost 1.1%, to 8,567.99.
The negotiations to end the longstanding trade war could face a tougher path this month following a flareup over Hong Kong.
China said Monday it will suspend U.S. military ship and aircraft visits to the semi-autonomous territory. It also plans to sanction several American pro-democracy groups in retaliation for passage of legislation supporting months’ long anti-government protests.
The law, signed last Wednesday by President Donald Trump, mandates sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who carry out human rights abuses and requires an annual review of the favorable trade status that Washington grants Hong Kong.
“Perhaps the market will now hold the champagne corks that it has been popping for months now in expectation that all is well,” Rabobank said in a report.
Benchmark crude oil
gained 22 cents to $56.18 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 79 cents to $55.96 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude oil
, the international standard, gained 18 cents to $61.10 a barrel.
rose to 109.20 Japanese yen from 109.00 yen on Monday.