Asian stocks open lower as markets parse US tariff threats

2019-12-04 12:19:25 GMT (
Asian stocks open lower as markets parse US tariff threats

Asian stocks opened in the negative territory on the third session of the week and month, as markets are pricing the US trade protectionism against several countries under the current administration of President Donald Trump, who stated yesterday that a trade agreement with China might have to wait until after the presidential election in 2020.


President Trump also stated that Beijing wants a deal "now" with Washington, adding "but we'll see what happens in the coming period." This came less than two weeks ahead of the US tariffs hike by 15% on Chinese goods worth $160 billion as scheduled on December 15, following mounting tensions between the US and China over the situation in Hong Kong.


Trump threatened to impose tariffs up to 100% against France goods worth $2.4 billion, if Paris imposed taxes on US technology companies, hours after the US president expressed Monday that his administration intends to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Brazil and Argentina


Otherwise, the Australian AIG services index showed the expansion narrowed to 53.7 vs. 54.2 in October, and the GDP index q/q reading showed that growth slowed in Q3 to 0.4% vs. 0.5% in Q2, and lower than forecasts for 0.6%.


The GDP in seasonally adjusted reading showed growth to 1.7% in line with forecasts vs. 1.6% in the previous reading, which came hours after the Reserve Bank of Australia decision to hold the short-term benchmark interest rates at its all-time lowest for the second straight meeting at 0.75%.


As for stocks, Japanese stock indices were lower during today's session, with the Topix index falling by 0.53% or 9.00 points to 1,697.73, and Nikkei 225 index fell by 1.25% or 292.01 points to 23,087.80.


Chinese stocks also fell, as the CSI 300 index fell by 0.26% or 9.88 points to 3,841.21, and the Shanghai Composite index fell 0.40% or 11.41 points to 2,873.29.


Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 1.23% or 325.70 points to 26,065.60. South Korea's Kospi fell 1.06% or 22.13 points to 2,061.94.


To New Zealand's NZX 50, which fell by 0.19% or 21.33 points to 11,206.94, and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index fell by 1.51% or 101.40 points to 6,610.90

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