Stocks are getting smoked amid trade war worries

Stocks are getting smoked amid trade war worries

Stocks are getting smoked amid trade war worries

Indeed, anxieties around the prospect of a trans-Pacific trade war are rippling through global markets after the mercantilist-minded president imposed new tariffs Thursday on as much as $60 billion worth of Chinese goods, in an effort to counter threats from a country the White House has dubbed an "economic enemy".

On Wall Street the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1.77% down, giving a weekly fall of 5.67% All three major USA indexes recorded their biggest declines since January 2016.

"We have one particular problem", Trump said before signing the order that will impose tariffs on hundreds of Chinese products, from shoes and clothing to consumer electronics. Trump said he was taking those steps in response to theft of American technology.

The risk of a U.S-China trade war is a regional concern, given the myriad supply chains and other ties across Asia. The list is expected to be published within two weeks, then subject to a 30-day comment period and potential revisions by the U.S. Trade Representative's office after that period ends.

If there is a trade war, the first shots were fired by China many years ago, US officials say, and it is Beijing that has long "gamed" the rules of the World Trade Organization for its own benefit.

On Thursday, investors fled stocks and bought bonds, which sent bond prices higher and yields lower.

Banks also took steep losses as interest rates decreased. South Korea's Kospi tumbled 2.3 percent to 2,438.03. Japan's Nikkei 225 plummeted 4.5%, and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 2.5%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 skidded 1.9 percent to 5,824.50.

Chinese shares fell sharply after Beijing unveiled plans for tariffs on up to $3 billion of US imports in retaliation for USA duties on steel and aluminium products from China and other countries that went into effect on Friday.

"There could be a possibility of a bounce back if, as this progresses, both sides look like they're negotiating", said Lisa Erickson, chief investment officer at US Bank Wealth Management.

"Markets are looking immensely fragile today".

The S&P 500 index skidded 38 points, or 1.4 per cent, to 2,605 as of 3:10 p.m. The Dow finished at its lowest point since November. The Nasdaq composite fell 174.01 points, or 2.4%, to 6,992.67.

Sales outside the USA are especially important for technology companies.

West Texas Intermediate oil closed at an eight-week high, rising 2.5% to $65.88 a barrel.

But Beijing is likely waiting for Trump's final tariff list before it responds more fully.

"China does not want to fight a trade war, but it is absolutely not afraid of a trade war", the commerce ministry said. But critics say he has missed an opportunity to build an effective worldwide coalition against China's trade practices, angering allies in Europe, North America and Asia by threatening to slap blanket tariffs on steel and aluminum imports - even if exemptions are being carved out - and acting unilaterally this week in a way that could undermine the global trade system.

Their fears eased when the administration said some countries will be exempt from the tariffs.

The Loonie is up to 77.34 cents US. The euro was at $1.2321-2321, down from $1.2374-2374, and at ¥129.40-41, down from ¥130.76-76. The contract shed 87 cents, or 1.3 percent, to close at $64.30 a barrel in NY.

USA crude futures were up 0.25 percent at $64.46 per barrel after losing 1.3 percent on Thursday.

Related news