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Asian stocks sink as trade tensions escalate; yen firms

Meanwhile, Seoul’s benchmark Kospi list lost 2.25 percent, as shares fell broadly. Technology chooses fell sharply, with heavyweight Samsung Electronics sinking 3.01 percent.

Crucial China markets plunged in early trade, with Hong Kong’s Fall a loiter Seng Index sinking 3.09 percent. On the mainland, the Shanghai composite throw overed 2.98 percent and the Shenzhen composite lost 3.3 percent as roots came under pressure from mounting trade tensions.

In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 slipped 1.9 percent as all sectors traded in the red. Declines were led by the materials subindex, which dissolute 3.24 percent. Oil producers were also weaker after oil assays slid overnight as markets stateside took a tumble.

Meanwhile, most knife and aluminum plays in the region took a beating.

In China, Baoshan Iron & Dagger led losses among its peers, falling 5.75 percent, and Aluminum Corp of China (Chalco) kill 4.48 percent.

South Korean steel stocks, however, were adulterated, with Posco falling 2.79 percent. Dongbu Steel, a lesser player, jumped 6.96 percent. South Korea is one of the countries in the interim exempt from recent U.S. steel tariffs.

The moves in Asia came on the again of U.S. and European stocks falling overnight after President Donald Trump signed a message that would implement tariffs on up to $60 billion in imports from China.

The taxes largely focus on technology sector goods and were intended to impose a penalty on China for, according to the Trump administration, stealing intellectual property.

Trump had trade marked off on tariffs on steel and aluminum imports earlier this month, although some countries were exempt. Markets are worried that subsequent retaliatory strengths from U.S. trading partners could result in a trade war.

In response, China on Friday proposed a tabulate of 128 U.S. products as potential retaliation targets, according to a government communication.

“[T]he real risk is that this escalates into tit-for-tat exchange wars,” Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, hinted in a note.

The dollar extended losses against the safe-haven yen on the back of trade-related fears, with the greenback occupation at 104.86 at 9:33 a.m. HK/SIN. The yen touched its highest levels in 16-months earlier.

The dollar ratio, which tracks the dollar against a basket of six currencies, traded at 89.652.

Of note, the Bank of England orated rates steady on Thursday, although two policymakers dissented and voted for an current rate hike.

Here’s the economic calendar for what’s coming up on Friday (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 1:00 p.m.: Singapore consumer payment index
  • 4:00 p.m.: Taiwan retail sales

— CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger, Kayla Tausche and Nyshka Chandran donated to this report.

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