Trump threatens tariffs on all $500 bln of Chinese imports

The US launches a trade war against China

Trump's criticism aside, China watchers have highlighted how the yuan's depreciation this time around is better understood by investors as a reflection of economic fundamentals, rather than the 2015-style shock. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 percent. Heating oil edged up 0.7 percent to $2.10 a gallon. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.7 per cent to 28,212.37. The outbursts were another crosswind for Wall Street, which struggled to find direction and finished the day a hair's breadth in negative territory.

Support: 0.7310 (July 2 low), 0.7160 (Dec 2016 low), 0.7145 (May 2016 low). The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped less than 0.1 percent to 25,058.12. The Nasdaq composite dipped 0.4 per cent to close at 7,825.30. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.2 percent.

Emerging markets (EM) in Asia are most vulnerable to an escalation in US-China trade tensions, particularly, Taiwan, Malaysia, Korea, and Singapore along with China itself.

Since the US-Sino trade war came into full affect, the CNY has experienced a massive fall, as traders exit Chinese financial markets amidst fears of financial stability and weaker Chinese growth. This sent ripples through Asian markets. Their goods will become more expensive relative to China's. Chinese exports would also be relatively cheaper, possibly balancing out suggested increases in tariffs by the Trump Administration. Considering these factors seem unlikely to abate for now, maybe a bullish case for the ASX can be made on this basis, as the market eyes off new and very attainable 10-year highs. "There is a loss in confidence right now", said Francis Tan, an economist at UOB Bank. The United States then disputed the retaliatory tariffs at the World Trade Organisation on Monday, along with those the European Union, Canada, Mexico and Turkey imposed in response to new U S duties on steel and aluminum. Critics lined up to urge the administration to reject auto tariffs.

The U.S. dollar fell against major currencies on Friday on Trumps threat to impose more import tariffs and his repetition of complaints about rising interest rates and the strength of the U.S. dollar. The Alliance of Auto Manufacturers rejected the levies on vehicle, truck and auto parts imports, saying the view was shared by over 2,200 comments it had received. Like numerous Trump-related bluster and volatility, expect markets to experience a degree of exposure therapy to future Fed and currency comments, stripping them of much of their impact.

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German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said he would use the meeting to advocate for a rules-based trading system, but that expectations were low.

The harsh comments took fresh aim at pillars of the global economic system and underscored Trump's break with long-established norms by again openly rebuking the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates. The Fed has raised its benchmark rate for a second time this year and projected two more increases in 2018. While both the Chinese and United States economies remain strong, a crash in the U.S. stock market, especially at a time when interest rates have pushed the Dollar higher, could result in a dramatic change of fortune for the USA if the current atmosphere of caution vis-a-vis China is not reversed from the American side.

CURRENCIES: Trump's comments caused the greenback to decline slightly. The Japanese yen gained 0.9 percent to 111.51 per dollar.

METALS: Gold rose 0.6 percent to $1,231.10 an ounce. On Thursday, the contract settled at USD68.24 a barrel.

Crude oil prices appear to have found a short term base but they are still set to finish lower for the third week in succession.

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