Asian markets fall after Trump’s trade comments; Nikkei down 1%

Asian markets slipped Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump’s said he was “not satisfied” with the latest round of trade talks with China, with Japan leading losses in the region.

In Tokyo, Nikkei 225 fell 1.16 percent amid the move higher in the yen. The dollar slipped to trade at 110.46 at 12:13 p.m. HK/SIN, under the 111 handle seen earlier this week. Major exporters were hurt as the yen firmed, with Honda Motor declining 0.92 percent and TDK down 2.14 percent.

The broader Topix was lower by 0.72 percent, with losses seen in all but three of its 33 subindexes. Declines were led by the Topix mining and oil subindexes, which dropped 4.03 percent and 3.33 percent, respectively.

The Kospi erased early losses to edge up by 0.16 percent as gains in large cap technology names offset declines seen in other major sectors. Samsung Electronics rose 3.2 percent and SK Hynix added 6.06 percent, while steelmakers and financials slid.

Greater China markets pulled back. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined 1.04 percent, hurt by declines in financials and energy. Mainland stock indexes saw slimmer losses: The Shanghai composite edged down by 0.8 percent and the Shenzhen composite shed 0.55 percent.

Coal miners came under pressure during the session with shares of China Shenhua down 6.82 percent in Hong Kong and lower by nearly six percent in Shanghai. That came as Chinese authorities intervened in the coal market, Reuters reported.

Over in Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.05 percent as energy names dragged on the broader index. Meanwhile, MSCI’s index of shares in Asia Pacific excluding Japan slipped 0.29 percent in Asia afternoon trade.

Declines came after President Donald Trump said he was “not satisfied” with bilateral trade talks with China that occurred last week, but called them a “start” to working out the U.S. trade imbalance with Beijing. U.S. stocks closed lower following those comments despite starting the session on positive footing.

Still on the issue of trade, China announced on Tuesday that it would reduce tariffs on some vehicles to 15 percent from as much as 25 percent. Tariffs on certain automotive parts would also be cut.

Global stock markets had been buoyed earlier in the week by fading jitters over U.S.-China trade tensions after the two sides met in Washington for talks. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s comment that negotiations had made “very meaningful progress” saw the Dow Jones industrial average close above the 25,000 level on Monday for the first time since March.

On the geopolitical front, Trump said Tuesday there was a “substantial chance” that a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “may not work out.” Trump’s comments came as he met South Korean President Moon Jae-in ahead of a planned meeting, scheduled for June 12, with Kim.

In currencies, the dollar edged up against a basket of currencies ahead of minutes from the Federal Reserve which are expected during U.S. hours. The dollar index was firmer at 93.682, but still below a five-month high reached earlier in the week.

Source: CNBC