SYDNEY – Stocks fell, the dollar gained and commodities slid with emerging-market assets after the US fired a new shot in its brewing trade war with China.
S&P 500 futures slumped with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index and MSCI Asia Pacific Index following the Trump administration’s release of the biggest list yet of Chinese goods it may hit with tariff increases. The Asian nation vowed to retaliate, and shares in Shanghai led the retreat as the yuan weakened.
The potential escalation spurred advances in the dollar and Treasuries, while emerging-market stocks and currencies both declined. Metals bore the brunt of the reaction in commodities, with copper, nickel and zinc all sliding.
China’s Commerce Ministry described the US move as “totally unacceptable” bullying, and promised to lodge complaints at the World Trade Organization without detailing what its retaliatory steps would be. One pattern seen so far in the escalating battle between the world’s top two economies is that the tensions have hit Chinese shares harder than American ones -- they are now in a bear market, while the S&P 500 is within about 3% of a record high.
“In the short run it’s very difficult to see what’s going to bring an end to this escalation of tit-for-tat,” Richard Turnill, chief investment strategist at BlackRock, told Bloomberg TV in Hong Kong. “It’s those increasing concerns that are going to weigh on market returns and force investors increasingly to look for more resilience in their portfolios.”
A bumper corporate earnings season could still support sentiment, with expectations that strong results can compliment a recent run of positive economic data and overshadow growth concerns stemming from the trade tensions.
Elsewhere, oil dropped below $74 a barrel in New York, even as an industry report was said to show shrinking US crude stockpiles.