Asian shares fall under pressure from trade, emerging markets worries

04 Sep, 2018 8:41 am

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Asian shares fell in early trade on Tuesday, amid growing concerns over escalating international trade disputes and as emergency austerity measures in Argentina highlighted turbulence in emerging markets. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was down 0.2 percent after European shares ended mostly flat, though a weak British pound helped to lift London’s blue-chip FTSE  almost 1 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei  slid 0.3 percent and Australian shares were 0.2 percent lower.

US markets were closed on Monday for Labor Day.

Growing turbulence in Argentina once again focused global attention on emerging markets.

Earlier, Argentine President Mauricio Macri announced new taxes on exports and steep cuts to government spending in what he termed “emergency” measures to balance next year’s budget.

The Argentine peso  closed 3.14 percent weaker and is expected to face further pressure in coming days.

Turkey’s central bank signaled it would take steps to combat “significant risks” to price stability, comments seen as hinting at interest rate hikes.

The lira , which has lost 40 percent of its value against the US dollar this year, was 0.3 percent weaker at 6.6400 to the dollar.

Underscoring global uncertainty, manufacturing surveys released  showed mounting stress on factories across Europe and Asia as the outlook for global trade dims.

US President Donald Trump gave fresh impetus to trade worries at the weekend when he said there was no need to keep Canada in the North American Free Trade Agreement and warned Congress not to meddle with the trade talks.

Trump was also reported to have said he is ready to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of imports from China as soon as a public comment period on the plan ends on Thursday.

“President Trump’s war of words against Canada amid negotiations of the NAFTA trade agreement raised concerns that his stance against other countries such as China would remain combative. This wasn’t helped by data showing some weakness in China’s export-focused manufacturing sector,” ANZ analysts said in a note on Tuesday.

The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes US10YT=RR rose to 2.8585 percent versus its US close of 2.853 percent on Friday.

The two-year yield US2YT=RR, which rises with traders’ expectations of higher Fed fund rates, touched 2.633 percent compared with a US close of 2.629 percent last week. The dollar dropped 0.13 percent against the yen to 110.93 , while the euro was down 0.1 percent on the day at $1.1611.

The dollar index .DXY, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was flat at 95.144.

US crude CLc1 ticked up 0.33 percent at $70.03 a barrel. Brent crude LCOc1 fell to $78.06 per barrel.

Gold was slightly higher, with spot gold XAU= traded at $1201.19 per ounce.

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