Sentiment in the Asian and Pacific Rim took a turn for the worse Wednesday as conflicting trade related headlines concerned Asian traders before today’s trade deal signing ceremony between the United States and China.
By the afternoon, the Asian benchmark in Japan, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.46 percent. Japan’s financial markets reopened today after being closed yesterday for a public holiday. The Topix index, in Tokyo shed over half a percent.
In South Korea, the Kospi composite index was down 0.39 percent and in Australia, the S&P ASX 200 was up 0.3 percent. Most of this index’s sub-sectors were in the green.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was up 0.57 percent. In China, on the mainland, the Shanghai composite lost 0.54 percent and shares on the smaller Shenzhen composite dell half a percent.
Asian Markets Move Lower on Conflicting Trade News
The first headlines that concerned traders crossed the wires overnight. There are reports that U.S. tariffs will remain in place for now. Today the initial phase one trade agreement is expected to be signed in the United States as senior trade officials from China are in Washington DC.
The United States will not review existing tariffs before ten months after this preliminary trade accord is signed.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Treasury Department removed Beijing from the currency manipulator list. This was seen a conciliatory gesture ahead of today’s trade deal ceremony.
Today, China’s Vice Premier and chief trade negotiator Liu He is in Washington DC. He is expected to sign the preliminary trade accord with the United States. This will end the better than 15 month long trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
China is expected to purchase more U.S. agricultural good. China will also open their banking system and increase the level of enforcement with IP rights. China has also agreed to stop manipulating the yuan.
In return, the U.S. will not go ahead with new tariffs, which would have gone into effect today, and will slash existing tariffs in phases.