US stock index futures fell on Friday, ahead of the long holiday weekend, with investors wary after President Donald Trump’s latest salvo in Washington’s trade war with China.
Wall Street snapped a four-day winning streak on Thursday after Bloomberg reported Trump was ready to impose tariffs on $200 billion (Dh735 million) more of Chinese goods next week, sooner than many expected, when a public comment period on the plan ends.
The US-China dispute has overshadowed what has been intense, but constructive trade negotiations between the United States and Canada, although a deal is yet to be struck.
“The threat of global growth taking a hit from a damaging U. S-China relationship remains ‘front and center’,” said Dean Popplewell, vice president of market analysis at Oanda.
Traders also cautioned markets could be susceptible to bigger-than-usual gyrations as trading volumes are expected to be light ahead of the long Labor day holiday weekend.
Asian shares came under renewed pressure on Friday as a report US President Donald Trump was preparing to step up a trade war with Beijing sent Chinese stocks lower and partially erased gains made in this week’s global rally.
Many emerging market currencies were also frail after Argentina’s peso sank on Thursday despite the central bank’s interest rate hike.
European shares are expected to open lower, with major European stock index futures falling 0.2 per cent in early trade.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.7 per cent, for monthly drop of 1.5 per cent.
The index has underperformed MSCI ACWI, a gauge of the world’s 47 markets, for four months in a row as Sino-US trade worries hit Chinese shares.
The Shanghai Composite Index had fallen to near a 2-year low hit earlier in the month but recovered some of the day’s losses later in the session.
“China’s stock market has priced in a very bad situation as if the Chinese economy was going into a hard landing, which I don’t think will be the case,” said Chi Lo, an economist at BNP Paribas Asset Management.
While trade jitters dominated market sentiment, indicators suggests activity in the world’s second largest economy remained firm.
The official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) on Friday showed growth in China’s manufacturing sector unexpectedly picked up in August after a two-month slide.
Still, investors remained cautious as they expect more risks from the trade frictions down the road.
Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.02 per cent.
US S&P500 e-mini futures were slightly weaker a day after the S&P 500 lost 0.44 per cent from Wednesday’s record close of 2,914.
Pouring cold water on a rally in global shares that started in the middle of the month were hostile comments from Trump on trade.
Bloomberg reported that Trump said he was ready to impose more tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods from China as soon as the public comment period on the plan ends next week.
“So far, Trump has carried out what he said he would do,” said Ayako Sera, market economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank.
“Even though there are some doubts the US trade representative could come up with new tariffs so quickly, I suspect worries about a trade war will start to eclipse optimism based on strong US economic data.”
Trump also threatened in an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday to withdraw from the World Trade Organisation if “they don’t shape up” — a move that would further undermine one of the foundations of the modern global trading system.
In addition, he said the European Union’s proposal to eliminate auto tariffs is not good enough and called its trade policies “almost as bad as China.” Those remarks hosed down any positive sentiment following negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The cautious mood helped lift the yen, which rose 0.6 per cent on Thursday, its biggest daily rise in about six weeks.
In Asian Friday trade, it stood flat at 110.98 per dollar. The euro was little changed at $1.1665, having shed 0.33 per cent in the previous session.
Source: Gulf News