SINGAPORE: Asian shares were mostly lower Monday amid worries about trade tensions as the U.S. and China both started putting tariffs in motion. China and Hong Kong markets were closed for a national holiday.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.8 percent to 22,662.68 in morning trading. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.8 percent to 2,385.65. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained less than 0.1 percent to 6,096.20. Southeast Asian indexes were mostly lower. China and Hong Kong markets were closed for the Duanwu Festival commemorating the death of Qu Yuan, an ancient Chinese poet and minister.
U.S.-CHINA TARIFFS: The tariffs slapped on one another by the world’s two biggest economies are set to take effect from July 6. U.S. President Donald Trump has announced a 25 percent tariff on up to $50 billion in Chinese imports. China is retaliating by raising import duties on $34 billion worth of American goods, including soybeans, electric cars and whiskey.
THE QUOTE: “Caution appears to be the key word for Asian markets today as investors digest the potential implications of the U.S.-China tit-for-tat tariff measures. There is little else in terms of key economic data releases due today either,” said Selena Ling, chief economist at OCBC Bank.
WALL STREET: Major U.S. benchmarks finished last week lower. The S&P 500 index dropped 0.1 percent to 2,779.66 and the Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.3 percent to 25,090.48. The Nasdaq composite dipped 0.2 percent to 7,746.38.
ENERGY: Oil futures extended their losses after reports that OPEC countries planned to increase production of oil by as much as 1.5 million barrels a day. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.20 to $63.86 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost $1.83 to settle at $65.06 per barrel on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slipped 78 cents to $72.66 in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar inched down to 110.44 yen from 110.62 yen in late trading Friday. The euro weakened to $1.1589 from $1.1607. -AP