HONG KONG: Asian equities tumbled Thursday as China-US trade frictions continue to dog investors, while the pound hit a fresh-four-month low on Brexit worries and energy firms were battered by plunging oil prices.
Markets across the region were in the red as traders ran to the hills, with no signs of a break in the tariffs stand-off between the world’s top two economies keeping optimism in check, reports AFP.The heavy selling comes after a relatively sedate couple of days in Asia and follows losses on Wall Street, with warnings that more volatility is expected for some time.
Tensions between China and the US have increased after Donald Trump banned telecoms giant Huawei from the US market and prevented American firms from selling to it.
The move has led a number of companies around the world to cut back their business with the firm, including Google, Japan’s Panasonic and BT in Britain, among others.
The row, which has seen the trade war widen to also become a battle over technology, has hammered the sector with major firms seeing their valuations tumble in recent weeks.
On Thursday Hong Kong market heavyweight Tencent dived more than two percent, Sony shed more than three percent in Tokyo, Seoul-listed LG Display dived by a similar amount and TSMC shed almost three percent in Taipei.
“As ever, the sentiment is vulnerable to headline flashes on trade, and we can expect this sort of flip-flopping in sentiment daily until more clarity emerges on any progress on the US-China trade front,” said OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley.“In the bigger picture, equities may find upward momentum difficult on a consistent basis, while the trade picture and its knock-on effects remain so cloudy.”
Hong Kong was among the worst performers with the Hang Seng Index diving 1.4 percent, Shanghai 1.1 percent lower and Tokyo down 0.8 percent at lunch.