Asian shares gain as markets attempt to shrug off trade war jitters

Elsewhere, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged up by 0.1 percent. On the mainland, Shanghai composite tacked on 0.67 percent, paring some of Wednesday’s sharp losses and the smaller Shenzhen composite climbed 0.9 percent.

Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 tacked on 0.67 percent in Sydney. Most sectors rose, with health care leading gains in the morning, but the energy subindex slid.

MSCI’s index of shares in Asia Pacific excluding Japan were little changed in Asia morning trade.

Those moves came after the Trump administration on Tuesday unveiled a list of 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese products. The duties will take effect only after a review process is completed. In response, China threatened to retaliate with “qualitative measures,” Reuters said, with the country’s commerce ministry adding that it would complain to the World Trade Organization.

This latest salvo also came just days after tariffs from the U.S. and China on $34 billion in products from each country took effect on Friday.

“Each time we take a further step into the war zone, markets have a little wobble like the one they have just had. Equities sell off a bit, then, so long as there is no further bad news for a week or so, they begin to sit back up again,” Robert Carnell, head of Asia Pacific research at ING Bank, said in a note.

However, given the long-lasting effects such trade developments will likely have, they did not merit “occasional small temporary correction[s], followed by swift recovery” but “deeper, and prolonged selling,” Carnell added.

Market participants increasingly expect the trade dispute to be a drawn-out affair.

“The July 11 announcement by the U.S. reaffirms our view that we are in a protracted escalatory cycle … However, we continue to expect negotiations and de-escalation to remain the end outcome,” Morgan Stanley economists said in a note. “However, the more protracted the process, the greater the impact on business confidence and capex, which would in turn weigh on global growth,” they added.

Global stock markets declined in the last session on the back of the latest developments in the ongoing trade dispute, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average declining 0.88 percent, or 219.21 points, to close at 24,700.45. The index had previously closed higher for four straight sessions as markets were upbeat about earnings season.

European and Asian equities slumped on Wednesday on the back of the latest ramp up in trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies, which investors fear could negatively affect global growth. The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down 1.2 percent while China markets led the declines in Asia, with the Shanghai composite dropping 1.78 percent.

The dollar was steady after firming overnight amid the jitters, with the dollar index last at 94.729. Against the yen, the dollar traded at 112.16 at 9:38 a.m. HK/SIN after crossing the 112 level for the first time in around six months overnight.

On the commodities front, oil prices retraced some of their steep losses made overnight on the back of trade worries and supply concerns following news that Libya would be resuming exports. Brent crude futures were higher by 1.24 percent at $74.31 per barrel after settling 6.9 percent lower on Wednesday, the largest drop in one day since 2016. U.S. crude futures tacked on 0.21 percent to trade at $70.53.

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