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|08 May, 2019

Wednesday outlook: Asian shares retreat on trade tensions

Wall Street stocks retreated overnight, with the S&P 500 losing 1.65 percent and the Dow shedding 1.8 percent

A trader speaks to a floor official on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 23, 2019.

A trader speaks to a floor official on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 23, 2019.

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
  • Asian shares track a drop on Wall Street
  • Brent crude oil futures edged 0.1 percent higher
  • Kuwait’s index gains 1.9 percent
  • Dollar drops, gold prices gain

Global markets

Asian shares dropped on Wednesday as trade tensions between the United States and China weighed on investor sentiment.

The United States President Donald Trump tweeted comments on Sunday 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 from 10 percent.

He also said he would target a further $325 billion of Chinese goods with 25 percent tariffs “shortly”.

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Chinese Vice Premier Liu He would join a delegation of Chinese officials to have further trade talks on Thursday and Friday with the Trump administration.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.75 percent on Wednesday. Wall Street stocks had slid overnight, with the S&P 500 losing 1.65 percent and the Dow shedding 1.8 percent on the U.S.-China trade concerns.

“From an equity market perspective, the immediate focus is on the two-day talks scheduled to take place between the U.S. and Chinese officials,” Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management, told Reuters.

“However, it is difficult to imagine the two parties resolving their differences in just two days of talks. The markets may have to begin pricing in the trade conflict as a long-term factor once again.”

Oil prices

Oil prices stabilized early on Wednesday as concerns that an escalating Chinese-U.S. trade dispute offset the effect of U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $61.56 per barrel at 0057 GMT on Wednesday, 17 cents, or 0.3 percent, above their last settlement.

Brent crude oil futures were at $69.94 per barrel, 6 cents, or 0.1 percent, above their last close.

“The tight and price-supportive fundamental outlook has not gone away,” Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Denmark’s Saxo Bank, told Reuters.

Middle East markets

Kuwait's premier market index added 1.9 percent on Tuesday with Zain Kuwait and National Bank of Kuwait gaining 2.7 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively.

Saudi Arabia’s index dropped 0.8 percent as Al Rajhi Bank lost 1.1 percent and National Commercial Bank shed 2.3 percent.

In Dubai, the index traded 0.3 percent lower, with Islamic Arab Insurance down 7.3 percent and the top loser after denying talks of a merger.

The Abu Dhabi index slipped 0.4 percent, with Abu Dhabi Commerical Bank shedding 3.7 percent after reporting first-quarter results.

Qatar National Bank and Qatar International Islamic Bank slipped 1.3 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

Egypt's blue-chip index rose 1.3 percent, with its largest lender Commercial International Bank Egypt adding 2.8 percent.

Bahrain’s index rose 0.3 percent, Oman’s index edged 0.1 percent lower.

Currencies

The dollar dropped early on Wednesday.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was 0.12% higher, last at 97.634.

Precious metals

Gold prices edged higher on a weaker dollar.

Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,285.76 per ounce as of 0109 GMT.

U.S. gold futures edged 0.1 percent higher to $1,287.40 an ounce.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)

(gerard.aoun@refinitiv.com)


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