US President Donald Trump’s comments about China and other countries becoming “spoiled” has renewed fears of escalating trade tensions.
Markets at 7:20am (AEST):
- ASX SPI 200 futures +0.2pc, ASX 200 (Thursday close) -0.2pc to 6,094
- AUD: 75.11 US cents, 55.54 British pence, 63.64 Euro cents, 83.19 Japanese yen, $NZ1.09
- US: Dow Jones -0.2pc at 24,714, S&P 500 -0.1pc at 2,720, Nasdaq -0.2pc at 7,382
- Europe: FTSE +0.7pc at 7,788, DAX +0.9pc at 13,115, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.8pc at 3,592
- Commodities: Brent crude +0.3pc at $US79.50/barrel, spot gold flat at $US1,290/ounce
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Mr Trump said China had “ripped off” the United States for too long, and that he had told Chinese President Xi Jinping “we just can’t do that anymore”.
A second round of talks between senior Trump administration officials and their Chinese counterparts started at the US Treasury on Thursday morning (local time).
“Will that be successful? I tend to doubt it,” Mr Trump said.
“The reason I doubt it is because China has become very spoiled. The European Union has become very spoiled.
“Other countries have become very spoiled, because they always got 100 per cent of whatever they wanted from the United States.”
Mr Trump has threatened to impose up to $US150 billion in punitive tariffs to combat what he says is Beijing’s misappropriation of US technology through joint venture requirements and other policies.
Beijing has threatened equal retaliation, including tariffs on some of its largest US imports, including aircraft, soybeans and automobiles.
How did Wall Street react?
US markets dipped after Mr Trump’s comments, as traders and investors hoped talks will avoid major tariffs proposed by both countries.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2 per cent to 24,714. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq slipped by 0.1 and 0.2 per cent respectively.
“I think this trade mess is certainly affecting the mood,” said Jim Bell, the chief investment officer of Bell Investment Advisors.
“This is becoming very real, American businesses are suffering.
“The trouble with tariffs, is they’re always bad, they always increase the costs of almost everything for consumers and they destroy more jobs than they create.”
Walmart stocks fell 1.9 per cent, and were the biggest drag on the Dow. This was after the retail giant said its profit margins were under pressure due to price cuts and higher freight costs.
Once again, the best performing S&P sector overnight was energy (+1.3pc), boosted by oil prices.
Unrest in the Middle East suggested a reduction of oil supply and sent crude prices to their highest level in three-and-a-half years.
A rapid slide in oil supply from Venezuela, concern that US sanctions will disrupt Iran’s oil exports, and falling global inventories have all combined to push oil prices up nearly 20 per cent this year.
Australian market today
ASX futures have gained 14 points (or 0.2 per cent).
This indicates the Australian share market is headed for a stronger start — despite Wall Street’s downbeat day.
In currencies, the Australian dollar has fallen slightly to 75.1 US cents and 55.6 British pence.
Source: ABC News