- Asian shares ex-Japan dip 2.4 pct, steepest drop in 1-1/2 mths
- Vietnam falls from record, set for first losing session in ten
- Philippines falls 2 pct, headed for 5th straight losing week
- Singapore sheds as much as 2.1 pct
Southeast Asian stock markets fell sharply on Friday as U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled a plan to impose tariffs on Chinese goods, bringing the two countries closer to a trade war and unnerving investors across the globe.
China urged the United States to “pull back from the brink”, saying Beijing was not afraid to engage in a trade war should the case arise.
The escalating tensions took a toll on broader Asian shares, which weakened as much as 2.4 percent, the steepest decline in a month-and-a-half.
“Hopefully… some agreement is reached between them in the next couple of weeks,” said Manny Cruz, an analyst with Asiasec Equities Inc in Makati City.
Singapore shares shed as much as 2.1 percent on broad-based losses, with United Overseas Bank Ltd dropping 2.8 percent.
Indonesian shares dipped as much as 2.7 percent, with financials and consumer staples weighing on the benchmark the most.
The index of the country’s 45 most liquid stocks was as much as 3.4 percent lower.
Indonesia should be hardest hit in the region in the event of a trade war due to the export-reliant nature of its economy, said Asiasec Equities analyst Cruz.
The bearish sentiment carried across the Strait of Malacca to Malaysia, where shares lost as much as 1 percent, as financials and telecom services weighed. Genting Bhd fell 1.8 percent.
Vietnam shares retreated from an all-time peak set on Thursday, shedding as much as 2.5 percent. The benchmark was on track to snap a nine-session winning streak. Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Viet Nam lost as much as 4.9 percent.
Philippine shares fell below the 8,000 mark for a second time this week, with financials and industrials leading the losses. The index fell as much as 2.1 percent, wiping off most of the 2.7 percent gain in the previous session. Philippine index has lost about 3.3 percent this week, setting it on course for a fifth straight week of losses.
Heavyweight SM Investments Corp fell 3.7 percent while Ayala Land Inc was down 3.3 percent.
By Aaron Saldanha (Reuters)