Fundamental Comment

Asian shares tumble on escalating trade war jitters

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Asian shares tumbled on Friday to end the week on hefty losses on escalating jitters of a global trade war after China’s pledge to retaliate against President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on China.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index dipped 4.51 percent to close at 20,617.86, as the yen, a favorite safe haven, strengthened to $104.63, the lowest level in 16 months.

In China, the Shanghai Composite Index plummeted 3.39 percent to 3,152.76, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 2.45 percent.

South Korea’s Kospi index plunged 3.18 percent to 2,416.76, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 1.96 percent to end at 5,820.70.

Overnight in Wall Street, Dow Jones finished 2.93 percent lower, S&P 500 dropped 2.52 percent and Nasdaq Composite sagged 2.43 percent.

President Trump signed an executive memorandum that would implement tariffs on up to $60 billion in imports from China.

In response, China announced a list of 128 U.S. products as potential targets for tariffs imposition.

“China doesn’t hope to be in a trade war, but is not afraid of engaging in one. China hopes the United States will pull back from the brink, make prudent decisions, and avoid dragging bilateral trade relations to a dangerous place,” Chinese commerce ministry said today.

Worries of seeing a global trade war between the U.S. and China has unnerved investors, prompting them to dampen risky assets and flock to safe havens.

Precious gold climbed to a four-week high of $1342.23 an ounce, set for its first weekly advance in five weeks.

The euro slipped for a fourth straight session versus the Swiss franc to 1.1653, the lowest level in two weeks.

The dollar index inched down to 89.24, ahead of U.S. durable goods orders and new home sales reports due later in the day.

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