Asian markets were a mixed bag Monday as the latest round of tariff hikes in the U.S.-China trade war took effect.
U.S. tariffs on $112 billion of Chinese goods were raised from 10% to 15% effective Sunday, and China responded by raising tariffs on some U.S. goods. Additional tit-for-tat tariff hikes are scheduled to take effect Oct. 1 and Dec. 15. Many U.S. companies have warned that they will need to pass on the costs of the tariffs to consumers.
President Donald Trump told reporters Sunday that “We can’t allow China to rip us off anymore as a country,” but said trade negotiations with China were still set to resume this month.
Earlier this weekend, the official gauge of China’s factory activity showed sluggish output for a fourth straight month. The manufacturing purchasing managers index edged down to 49.5 in August from 49.7 in July, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, lower than economists’ median forecast of 49.6, the Wall Street Journal reported. Readings below 50 indicate a contraction in factory activity.
Japan’s Nikkei NIK, -0.41% slipped 0.2% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.75% retreated 0.4%, as continued pro-democracy protests disrupted airport traffic. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +1.30% rose 0.7% while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, +2.23% jumped 1%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, +0.07% advanced 0.1%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +0.16% , Singapore STI, -0.88% and Indonesia JAKIDX, -0.50% pulled back. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.38% was down 0.1%.
Among individual stocks, e-commerce company Rakuten 4755, +1.50% rose in Tokyo trading, while Mazda Motor 7261, -2.26% and SoftBank 9984, -1.45% fell. In Hong Kong, Tencent 700, +1.66% gained while Sino Land 83, -5.36% and Sands China 1928, -2.95% slid. Rio Tinto RIO, +1.43% gained in Australia while Woodside Petroleum WPL, -1.03% and Oil Search OSH, -1.51% fell.
U.S. markets are closed Monday for the Labor Day holiday.