Asia Reacts Negatively To Trump Tariffs

Asian stocks closed lower on Friday, with steel producers and automaker names recording steep drops. The fall in regional markets tracked sharp losses on Wall Street following a tariff announcement from U.S. President Donald Trump.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 again got bruised, plummeting 542.83 points, or 2.5%, to 21,184.64, as the yen firmed.

The Hang Seng Index jettisoned 460.8 points, or 1.5%, to 30,583.45

Trump said on Thursday that the U.S. will impose tariffs of 25% for steel and 10% for aluminum. The tariffs will be implemented broadly, without targeting specific countries.

Markets stateside fell on the news as investors worried about retaliatory actions from U.S. trade partners that could potentially result in a trade war. In addition, tariffs are also seen as inflationary as they could mean higher prices for consumers.

Japan's trade minister responded to the news on Friday, saying that Japanese steel exports were not a threat to U.S. national security.

Automakers, which make use of steel and aluminum products, also tracked losses seen stateside. Honda Motor and Toyota Motor sank 3.8% and 2.4% respectively.

Other sectors, including technology, were also firmly lower. Sony lost 1.2% and SoftBank Group tumbled 3.6%

Against the safe haven yen, the U.S. dollar extended losses after two straight days of declines to trade at 105.88.

The greenback's decline against the yen steepened late in Asian trade following comments from Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda. Kuroda said the central bank would think about exiting easy monetary policy if its inflation target was met in fiscal year 2019

In Hong Kong, large cap names were downbeat: China Construction Bank was down 2.7% Tencent lost 1.88 percent and insurer AIA sank 2% about an hour before the market close.

Elsewhere, the Kospi declined, with technology and manufacturing stocks mostly trading lower. Index heavyweight Samsung Electronics fell 2.2% by the end of the day, although SK Hynix rose 0.8%

Meanwhile, steelmaker Posco and Hyundai Steel dropped 3.6% and 3%, respectively. Automakers were also firmly in negative territory, with Hyundai Motor down 3.4%.

Although South Korea is among the top three sources of U.S. steel imports, it might not be too badly hurt as steel is predominantly traded within Asia, according to Moody's Investors Service.

In Australia, gold producers the only sector to finish the day in the green. Gold stocks rose 1.1% Mining majors were lower, with Rio Tinto sinking 1.3% Meanwhile, Bluescope Steel rose 0.8%.


The CSI 300 subtracted 32.63 points, or 0.8%, to 4,016.46,

Steel and aluminum stocks listed on the mainland recorded steep losses as markets reacted to news about U.S. tariffs, with Baoshan Steel falling 4%. Shares of Aluminium Corporation of China, or Chalco, lost 2%.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex shrugged off 87.62 points, or 0.8%, to 10,698.13

In Korea, the Kospi returned from holiday to drop 25.2 points, or 1%, to 2,402.16

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index fell 34.65 points, or 1%, to 3,479.20

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 declined 54.29 points, or 0.7%, to 8,288.42

The ASX 200 removed 44.45 points, or 0.7%, to 5,928.90