HEADLINE Asian stocks plunge as fear of trade war escalates


Asian stocks plunge as fear of trade war escalates

By Qiao Wai | People's Daily app

21:57, March 23, 2018


Photo: VCG

Asian stocks tanked on Friday on fears of a potential trade war, following the steep dive of their US and Europe counterparts.

US President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum Thursday that could impose tariffs on up to $60 billion worth of imports from China. As a response, China unveiled Friday a list of 128 US products as potential retaliation targets.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index sank more than 3.39 percent, hitting 3,200 points on Friday. The Shenzhen Component Index lost 4.49 percent to end at 10,439.9 points. Chinese steel and aluminum enterprises also took a hit. Baoshan Iron & Steel closed down 3.87 percent, and Aluminum Corp of China (Chalco) fell 3.51 percent.

In line with the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong stocks closed down 761.760 points, or 2.45 percent, to 30,309.29 points on Friday. The benchmark Hang Seng Index traded between 29,930.23 and 30,320.31. Turnover totaled HK$283.40 billion (about $36.11 billion).

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 saw a 4.51 percent decline, or 974.13 points, to close at 20,617.86 after earlier dropping to its lowest levels in more than five months. The weekly drop of benchmark was 4.88 percent.

Meanwhile, Seoul's benchmark Kospi index sank 3.18 percent to close at 2,416.76, as shares fell broadly. Technology names fell sharply, with heavyweight Samsung Electronics down 3.98 percent and SK Hynix losing 6.21 percent. Friday's dive was the steepest since one on Nov. 11, 2011, caused by the European financial crisis.

Similar fears played out in Singapore, where the benchmark Straits Times Index dropped 2 percent or 69.98 points to close at 3,421.39. A total of 1.9 billion shares changed hands with a turnover of S$1.85 billion (about $1.41 billion). Losers outnumbered gainers by 377 to 84.

US stocks opened with a slight rise on Friday morning (local time). The Dow Jones Index climbed 0.30 percent to 24,028.63 points. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index went up 0.20 percent to 2,648.90 point. And the NASDAQ Index increased 0.07 percent to 7,171.62.

A spokeswoman of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said China has been showing no desire for trade war, the potential trade war has not been initiated by China, and it will benefit no parties involved in it. On the other hand, the threat of retaliatory tariffs by the Ministry of Commerce shows that China is able to protect its legal interests. 

"China will fight to the end in any trade war", the spokeswoman of Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

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