Taiwanese shares slid on Friday, dragged down by falling US stocks amid escalating trade tensions between the US and China, dealers said.
The fall on Wall Street, after four days of gains, followed a report that US President Donald Trump was likely to press ahead with tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese products as early as next week.
The TAIEX on Friday ended down 29.81 points, or 0.27 percent, at the day’s high of 11,063.94 after moving to a low of 10,987.68 before rebounding. Turnover totaled NT$120.07 billion (US$3.91 billion).
That was a 2.4 percent increase from a close of 10,809.35 on Aug. 24.
The biggest falls on Friday were in the electronics and papermaking sectors, with contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), the most heavily weighted stock on the local market, falling 2.85 percent to NT$256 per share.
Shares in smartphone camera lens supplier Largan Precision Co (大立光) shed 0.84 percent to NT$4,705 per share, while Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), an assembler of Apple Inc’s iPhones, dropped 0.49 percent to NT$80.50.
Yuanta Investment Consulting Co (元大投顧) senior vice president Katie Du (杜富蓉) attributed the fall in local equities to US-China trade friction; rising trade disputes between the US and the EU; and heavy currency devaluations in the emerging economies of Turkey and Argentina.
Although the EU offered zero tariffs on imported cars from the US in exchange for reciprocal treatment, Trump rejected the offer, saying that European consumers do not like US cars, while most Americans want to buy European vehicles, Du said.
Trump’s position means the trade war between the US and China is likely to spread to EU countries, she said.
Trump’s planned tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese products are also likely to impact Taiwanese companies that run factories in China, she added.
Elsewhere in Asia, the report on Trump’s planned tariffs added to the fright on trading floors, with most equity markets across the region falling.
Global markets have gone into reverse since Bloomberg said that Trump wanted to impose the new levies on Chinese goods as soon as public consultation ends next week.
The move would add to the US$50 billion already levied.
The report followed talks last week between the world’s top two economies — the first on trade since they began exchanging tit-for-tat tariffs in July — which ended with no breakthrough and are likely to rekindle fears of a painful trade war.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 on Friday ended marginally lower, shedding 13.5 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 22,856.00, an increase of 1.1 percent from 22,601.77 on Aug. 24.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng on Friday dropped 275.5 points, or 1 percent, to 27,888.55, a gain of 0.8 percent from a close of 27,671.87 a week earlier.
A better-than-forecast reading on Chinese manufacturing activity was unable to lift the gloom, with the Shanghai Composite on Friday falling 12.49 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,725.25, a drop of 0.2 percent from 2,729.43 on Friday last week.
Sydney fell 0.5 percent, while Singapore was off 0.2 percent. Wellington, Manila and Jakarta were also sharply lower.
However, Seoul’s KOSPI on Friday bucked the regional trend, rising 15.53 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,322.88, gaining 1.3 percent from a close of 2,293.21 on Aug. 24.
Global markets had started the week on a high, fueled by hopes for a new Canada-US-Mexico trade pact and easing Brexit fears.
“One thing’s for sure — Sino-US trade developments are destined to be the defining feature of September’s markets,” National Australia Bank Ltd head of foreign exchange strategy Ray Attrill said.
“We are inclined to take the headlines that Trump is minded to announce his intentions to ratchet up tariffs on China as early as next week at face value,” he said.
Trump’s latest comments came ahead of a summit between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in November, with some observers saying that they are part of a strategy by the tycoon to win concessions.
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