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Asian Stocks Lower On Trade Worries, US Politics Set To Drive

Asian Stocks Lower On Trade Worries, US Politics Set To Drive

2018-03-16 06:50:00
David Cottle, Analyst
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Talking Points:

  • Asian stocks were mostly lower
  • Reports that National Security Adviser HR McMaster would be fired supported haven assets
  • Australia’s equity managed rare gains

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Asian stocks were mostly lower Friday with worries about rising global trade protectionism back front and center. US media reported this week that the Trump Administration wanted to impose tariffs on at least $30 billion of imports from China, with Reuters saying that it could be as high as $60 billion - these in addition to possible tarriffs on steel and aluminum imports. This has once more raised worries about retaliatory action from Beijing.

Politics were also to the fore with reports Friday saying that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is to be sacked, in what would be another high-profile White House departure not long after the resignation of economic aid Gary Cohn earlier this month.

The Nikkei 225 shed 0.6% with most other regional bourses lower. Australia’s ASX 200 bucked the trend, rising 0.5% into the close. Consumer staples led it higher, with news that retail giant Wesfarmers would spin off its Coles supermarket arm well received.

The US Dollar was weaker on those McMaster reports, with the Japanese Yen notably higher as risk aversion seemed to rise. Senior DailyFX Currency Strategist Ilya Spivak thinks its gains could have further to run. Gold prices were steady through the Asian session, while oil prices looked headed for a week of falls as the prospect of ever increasing US supply weighs.

Still to come Friday are official Eurozone Consumer Price Index data for February, US housing start and building permit numbers and the University of Michigan’s monthly look at consumer sentiment.

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--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

Follow David on Twitter@DavidCottleFX or use the Comments section below to get in touch!

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