Asia Down Amid More Trade Tensions

Most Asian markets closed lower on Monday as investors digested the escalation in trade tensions between the U.S. and China after both countries announced tariffs last week.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slumped 171.42 points, or 0.8%, to 22,680.33. Shippers led losses, sea transport sub-index sliding 3.9%.

Steelmakers dropped 1.7% and oil stocks tumbled 3.7% amid an extended drop in oil prices. Against the yen, the U.S. dollar slipped to trade at 110.55

South Korean markets recorded steeper losses. Technology names declined, with heavyweight Samsung Electronics sliding 2.2% and SK Hynix tumbling 3.5% but automakers notched gains. Hyundai Motor advanced 0.8%

Down Under, declines in the materials and energy sub-indexes were offset by gains in the financials sector, as Australia's "Big Four" banks all rose.

Trade was at the tops of investors' minds after the Trump administration last week said it will impose a 25% tariff on a list of 818 items of Chinese goods worth around $34 billion U.S. beginning July 6. Measures affecting an additional 284 products worth $16 billion U.S. will be subject to review before taking effect.

In response, China said a 25% tariff will be implemented on U.S. goods, including soybeans and electric vehicles, worth $34 billion starting July 6. Another list of U.S. imports worth $16 billion will be subject to review before being applied

In individual stocks, Rio Tinto was down 2% after reiterating that iron ore shipment guidance for 2018 was unchanged at between 330 million and 340 million tons. Other Australian-listed mining majors saw losses of more than 1%

In other markets

Markets in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taiwan were shuttered for holiday

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index re-emerged from a long weekend with a loss of 32.69 points, or 1%, to 3,324.04

In Korea, the Kospi index lost 27.8 points, or 1.2%, to 2,376.24

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 faded 1.52 points to 8,974.23

In Australia, the ASX 200 gained 10.1 points, or 0.2%, to 6,104.13