Monday outlook: Stocks drop as investors await China's reaction to U.S. tariffs

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.5%

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 22, 2019.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 22, 2019.

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
  • Asian shares retreat on trade tensions
  • Oil prices mixes amid  global economic growth uncertainty
  • Abu Dhabi’s index outperforms the region
  • Dollar, gold prices remain unchanged

Global markets

Asian shares fell on Monday as trade tensions between the United States and China weighed on sentiment.

The United States President Donald Trump tweeted comments last week that trade talks with China were proceeding “too slowly”, and that he would raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent on Friday (last week) from 10 percent.

Investors are cautiously monitoring what could be China’s reaction to Washington’s tariff increase.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.5%.

Oil prices

Oil prices were mixed amid uncertainty over global economic growth, following tensions on the trade talk front.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $61.58 per barrel, down 9 cents, or 0.2% at 0223 GMT, from their previous settlement. WTI closed the last session steady on the day.

Meanwhile Brent crude futures were at $70.73 a barrel, up 11 cents, or 0.2%, from their last close. Brent ended the previous session little changed.

“The US-China trade war is set to intensify, which will limit gains in prices,” Abhishek Kumar, head of analytics at Interfax Energy in London, told Reuters.

“Market participants will closely watch China’s retaliatory steps in response to the imposition of additional US tariffs on Chinese goods,” Kumar said, adding the dispute “could be particularly detrimental to the growth in global oil demand”.

Middle East markets

Abu Dhabi’s index rose 0.9 percent on Sunday as First Abu Dhabi Bank was up 1.9 percent.

Dubai's index was down 1.6 percent, weighed by its largest lender Emirates NBD which lost 3.5 percent. Investment bank Shuaa Capital was down 8 percent.

The Saudi index dropped 2 percent, despite a 4.75 percent rally in Bupa’s shares following the announcement of its first quarter earnings. "The increased military tension between the U.S. and Iran are pressuring markets down," Mohammed Ali Yasin, chief strategy officer at Al Dhabi Capital in Abu Dhabi, told Reuters.

Qatar's index was down one percent with heavyweight stocks Qatar National Bank and Qatar Gas Transport Company falling 0.8 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.

Egypt's blue-chip EGX30 index rose 0.4 percent to 14,122 points, Kuwait’s premier market index fell 2.2 percent while Bahrain’s index dropped 0.6 percent and Oman’s index was mainly flat.


The dollar was unchanged at 109.75 yen, down 0.2% on the day and just above a 14-week trough of 109.46.

Precious metals

Gold prices steadied on Monday.

Spot gold gained 0.1% to at $1,286.59 per ounce at 0113 GMT.

U.S. gold futures were steady at $1,287.90 an ounce.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)


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