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Asian Markets Plunge over US-China Trade War

Asian Markets Plunge over US-China Trade War

Asian markets have fallen sharply overnight amid increasing fears of a damaging trade war between China and the United States, the world's largest two economies.

The rumblings of a global trade war have shaken stock and currency markets. Topix index sank 2.4 per cent. Kospi index sank 1.9 per cent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index decreased 1.6 per cent. Futures on the S&P 500 Index fell 0.4 per cent. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 101.60 points or 1.68 percent to 5,941.60.

Equity indexes from Tokyo to Shanghai tumbled more than 3%.

The big four banks - ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank - are higher in a range of 0.3 percent to 0.9 percent.

The euro gained 0.2% to $1.2363, extending its recovery from a almost three-week low of $1.2240 touched earlier in the week. Major exporters were downbeat, with Honda Motor falling 5.3% and Sony losing 2.7%.

Transurban Group has expanded its North American toll road operations into Canada by acquiring the A25 toll road and bridge in Montreal from Macquarie Infrastructure Partners for C$840 million.

The Aussie AUD=D4 fell to a three-month trough of $0.7679 overnight while the kiwi dollar NZD=D4 hit the lowest since early January. The local unit was trading at US$0.7693, down from US$0.7743 on Thursday.

"For the moment, we don't see this as a trade war, but a trade skirmish", he said.

Spot gold added 0.2 percent to $1,313.31 an ounce XAU=.

- Japan's Nikkei stock index 225 lost 4.5 percent.

Asian Markets Plunge over US-China Trade War
Asian Markets Plunge over US-China Trade War

Oil stocks are also advancing after crude oil prices gained more than 2 percent.

Steel stocks turned in some of the market's worst performances on the day, resulting in a 6.2% drop by the NYSE Arca Steel Index.

In economic news, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said that consumer prices in Japan were up 1.5 percent on year in February. May WTI crude, the new front-month contract, added $1.41 or 2.3 percent to settle at $63.54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Against the Japanese yen JPY=, the greenback hovered near a one-week top at 106.46.

The Hang Seng Index dumped 761.76 points, or 2.5%, to 30,309.29. Singapore and Indonesia are losing nearly 2 percent each, while New Zealand and Taiwan are declining more than 1 percent each.

Myer Holdings reported a net loss for the first half on impairments and lower sales, and also suspended its interim dividend.

The Chinese government announced a list of retaliatory tariffs it would impose on about $3 billion worth of USA exports, in response to new US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Stock indexes from NY to Tokyo fell as the White House prepared to impose stiff tariffs on Chinese imports.

The S&P 500 fell 55 points, or 2.1 percent, and the Nasdaq dropped 174 points, or 2.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index plunged by 1.7 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index tumbled by 1.4 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

Crude check: Brent crude, the benchmark for more than half the world's oil, rose 0.14 percent at $69.57 per barrel while the West Texas Intermediate crude gained 0.20 percent at $65.30 a barrel, on Thursday morning.

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