On Friday, Asian equities went down abruptly in early trade, suppressed by greater worries of a strengthening trade protectionism because Donald Trump rolled out fresh aluminum and steel tariffs, thus provoking another afternoon of heavy stock selling in America.
Trump’s fresh move, actually aimed at protecting American steelmakers, helped edgy traders to scale back their stock holdings.
In Japan, the Nikkei Stock Average NIK went down 2.9%, affected by the double whammy of trade concerns as well as yen revenues. For the last two days the Nikkei was deprived of 3%.
Worries about tariffs and trade overshadowed firm American manufacturing data and also applied downward pressure on the evergreen buck. It pushed the currency pair JPY/USD down to a reading of ¥105.93 versus the Japanese yen from Thursday’s reading of ¥106.80. It stepped up pressure on Japanese equities.
Dives turned to be less acute, with benchmarks in Hong Kong HIS as well as Singapore STI accounting for 0.99%, diving approximately 1%. Additionally, in South Korea Kospi headed south 1.4% after financial markets in this Asian country were unavailable due to a holiday.
As for China, financial markets in this country dived too, also reacting to Trump’s tariffs. Besides this, equities in Shanghai exactly where most of the Chinese heavy industrials are listed, headed south 1%.
The evergreen buck’s overnight dip also backed commodity prices in Asia. For instance, the global Brent crude benchmark managed to gain 0.4% being worth $64.09 per barrel having settled at its lowest value for more than two weeks. As for American gold futures, they gained 1%.
Japanese steel equities declined more than 3%.
Among major users of steel, South Korea’s car maker Hyundai Motor went down 4%.
In Australia S&P/ASX 200 decreased 1%.
On Friday, Indian markets are unavailable due to a holiday.