Equities in Asia pared gains on Wednesday as investors continued to fret about the next step in the trade tussles between the U.S. and China. The dollar fell and China’s yuan pared gains triggered by further moves to stabilize the currency.
The region’s equity benchmarks gave up some earlier advances, with shares in China pacing a retreat. Japan erased gains as the yen rose. Stocks in Hong Kong also reversed an increase, while Australia bucked the trend. European equity index futures signaled a softer open to trading. Treasury yields were steady.
Adding to previous moves to ease pressure on the currency, the People’s Bank of China urged some lenders to prevent any “herd behavior” and momentum-chasing moves in the currency market, according to people familiar with the matter. Japanese bond yields nudged higher as a summary of opinions from policy makers at the Bank of Japan’s July 30-31 meeting showed one member had wanted freedom for yields to move up and down by around 0.25 percent on either side of the zero percent target.
Trade tensions remain in focus as the U.S. said it will begin imposing 25 percent duties on an additional $16 billion in Chinese imports in two weeks. It will be the second time the U.S. slaps duties on Chinese goods in about the past month, despite complaints by American companies that such moves will raise business costs and eventually consumer prices. Meanwhile, China’s exports grew faster than expected in July and imports surged, underscoring solid demand at home and abroad despite the uncertainty of the trade tensions.
Trade is the biggest risk in terms of sentiment, said Kerry Craig, global markets strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management in Melbourne.
“We don’t expect it to fade any time soon and we do think it’s a big worry about the sentiment it creates in the markets,” Craig said.
Elsewhere, the Turkish lira declined. The New Zealand dollar jumped on higher outlook for inflation as well as robust Chinese export growth. Australia’s dollar made little headway after the central bank chief said inflation was expected to reach its target in 2020.
Here are some key events coming up this week:
Samsung Electronics unveils its next Galaxy Note smartphone.
U.S. consumer prices probably rose in July, consistent with a pickup in inflation that’s projected to keep the Federal Reserve on a path of gradual interest-rate increases, economists forecast before Friday’s release.
These are the main moves in markets:
Japan’s Topix index fell 0.1 percent at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.2 percent.
South Korea’s Kospi index was little changed.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was steady.
The Shanghai Composite Index fell 1 percent.
S&P 500 Index futures were flat. The S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent.
FTSE 100 Index futures ticked lower as of 7 a.m. in London.
The yen rose 0.1 percent to 111.28 per dollar.
The offshore yuan fell 0.2 percent to 6.8312 per dollar after rising 0.7 percent Tuesday.
The euro bought $1.1617, up 0.2 percent.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.1 percent.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries held at 2.97 percent.
Australia’s 10-year bond yield rose two basis points to 2.68 percent.
Japan’s 10-year bond yield was at 0.11 percent.
West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.1 percent to $69.26 a barrel.
Gold gained 0.2 percent to $1,213.04 an ounce.
Copper rose 0.3 percent to $6,196 a metric ton.