Asia Slumps on Trade Threat

Stocks in Japan were the biggest losers among major markets in the region on Thursday, with the other Asian bourses following suit, amid a renewed threat to trade.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan swooned 422.94 points, or 2%, to 21,046.24, as shares of index heavyweights Softbank Group fell 2.4%, and Fanuc declined 2%.

The Japanese yen, widely viewed as a safe-haven currency, traded at 107.68 against the U.S. dollar after strengthening from levels above 108.0 yesterday.

Japan’s exports fell 6.7% in June as compared to a year ago, according to data released on Thursday — against expectations of a 5.6% decline from economists

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index lost 131.51 points, or 0.5%, to 28,461.66, with shares of Chinese tech giant Tencent dropping 1.5%.
Markets in Korea went south as shares of Celltrion dropped 2.2%.

The Bank of Korea announced that it was cutting the base rate by 25 basis points to 1.5%, following a cut to South Korea’s growth target earlier this month, and an ongoing trade spat between Seoul and Tokyo that has seen Japan place import curbs on important materials used by South Korea’s technology sector.

The Korean won last traded at 1,178.35 against the U.S. dollar, following an earlier low of 1,183.52.

Meanwhile, Apple supplier and the world’s largest contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company on Thursday posted a 7.6% fall in second-quarter net profit. It said its April-June profit was T$66.765 billion ($2.15 billion U.S.) — slightly more than the T$65.92 billion average of 21 analyst estimates

Australian markets went down. Shares of property firm Lendlease surged 4.8% after the company announced it landed a contract from tech giant Alphabet’s Google worth $15 billion in California.

Australian jobs data released on Thursday showed the country’s unemployment rate remaining at 5.2% in June. Overall, a net 500 new jobs were created in the month, far off the expected 10,000 figure from economists cited by Reuters.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7034, after earlier seeing a low of $0.7003.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 dropped 36.24 points, or 1%, to 3,768.40

Stocks stateside closed at their lows of the day just after the Wall Street Journal reported that trade negotiations with China are at an impasse over restrictions on Huawei, citing people familiar with the talks.

On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump said there’s still a long way to go before a deal with China can be reached, while threatening to slap tariffs on another $325 billion worth of Chinese goods.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index slipped 6.37 points, or 0.3%, to 2,066.55

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index faded 3.82 points, or 0.1%, to 3,361.05

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index slumped 29.2 points, or 0.3%, to 10,799.28

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 gained 86.3 points, or 0.8%, to 10,741.09

In Australia, the ASX 200 subtracted 24.14 points, or 0.4%, to 6,649.12