| 08 March, 2018

Hopes of smaller Trump tariffs ease investors' fears

The upcoming tariffs on imports could exclude major trade partners

Asian shares gained on Thursday as hopes of smaller Trump tariffs eased investors’ fears of a global trade war after a White House spokesperson said that the upcoming tariffs on imports could exclude major trade partners such as Canada, Mexico and a group of other countries.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.9 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.2 percent, and Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.8 percent. Wall Street’s S&P 500, however, ended 0.05 percent lower.

In the Middle East, Gulf stock markets, except Saudi, were down on Wednesday following the global markets’ drop on fears of a trade war.

The Qatari market was down by 0.7 percent,  Abu Dhabi exchange lost 0.09 percent, while Dubai slipped 0.7 percent, weighed down by Emaar Properties losing 1.4 percent. The Saudi market, however, gained 0.21 percent supported by steady oil prices.

Egypt’s index reached a record high closing up by 2.3 percent on gaining from the central bank’s decision to cut interest rates last month.

In commodities markets, oil prices steadied on Thursday after falling a day earlier on rising U.S. crude inventories. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures CLc1 were up 0.2 percent at $61.29 a barrel.

Gold prices were also steady as more details were awaited on Trump’s tariffs plan, U.S. jobs data and the results of policy meeting of European Central Bank.

In currencies, the U.S. dollar, Mexican peso and Canadian dollar recovered from losses on fears of U.S. tariff plan.

In other news, Saudi Arabia has postponed the Arab Summit in Riyadh to April, since the original date clashes with the presidential elections in Egypt.

UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May defended ties with Saudi Arabia as Mohammed bin Salman made his first official trip to Britain as a crown prince in a visit that drew protests over the kingdom’s human rights record.

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© ZAWYA 2018