Asian stocks lower on US-China trade worries


In this Sept. 16, 2018, photo, American flags are displayed together with Chinese flags on top of a trishaw in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Asian stock markets were mostly lower Tuesday after a Chinese government report accusing the Trump administration of bullying other countries dampened hopes for a settlement in their escalating tariff war.


The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.8-percent to 2,775.91 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 shed 0.1-percent to 6,180.10. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 advanced 0.1-percent to 23,900.57 while Hong Kong and Seoul were closed for holidays. Benchmarks in New Zealand, Malaysia and the Philippines retreated while Taiwan and Singapore advanced.


Industrial companies and bank sank after news reports that China pulled out of possible talks proposed by Washington on ending their fight over Beijing’s technology policy. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 0.4-percent to 2,919.37. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.7-percent to 26,562.05. Both the S&P 500 and Dow set record highs last week. General Electric dropped 3.5-percent and 3M declined 1.3-percent.


China issued a report accusing Washington of abandoning “mutual respect” required for international relations and “trade bullyism” toward other governments. At the same time, both governments imposed new tariffs on each other’s goods in their war over U.S. complaints that Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.


The criticism of Washington “suggests that China might prefer to wait out the current U.S. administration, rather than embarking on potentially futile negotiations,” said Cheng Wei Liang of Mizuho Bank in a report. “It is increasingly likely that both sides will not resume negotiations for some time, at least until there is a noticeable shift in the political mood on either side.”


South Korean markets were closed for a public holiday, limiting immediate reaction to the signing by President Donald Trump and President Moon Jae-in of a new version of the U.S.-South Korean trade agreement. It marked one of Trump’s first successes renegotiating deals on more favorable terms for the U.S. Trump said the new agreement will help reduce the U.S. trade deficit and create new opportunities to export U.S. automobiles, pharmaceuticals and agricultural products to South Korea.


Oil prices jumped after a weekend meeting of OPEC and its allies ended with no decision to increase output despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s call for lower prices. Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries met with non-members including Russia. The committee said it saw a “healthy balance between supply and demand.” The price rise is notably caused by a recent drop in Iran’s supply because of U.S. sanctions.


Benchmark U.S. crude gained 13 cents to $72.21 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract advanced $1.30 on Monday to close at $72.08. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 13 cents to $80.59 per barrel in London. It jumped $2.29 the previous session to $80.53.


The dollar gained to 112.81 yen from Monday’s 112.79 yen. The euro declined to $1.1740 from $1.1749.

Story by the Associated Press.