Asian markets fell in early trading Thursday, following losses on Wall Street triggered by fresh worries about an economic slowdown.
U.S. stocks are off to their worst start to a quarter since 2008, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average
has lost more than 800 points in the past two days. Data showing slower job creation and weaker manufacturing output are indicating that the Trump administration’s trade war is taking a toll on the U.S. economy.
Global markets were further uneased after the U.S. announced late Wednesday that it planned to slap tariffs as high as 25% on $7.5 billion of European imports, after the WTO ruled the EU improperly favored Airbus
in a long-running trans-Atlantic dispute.
“The dreary economic data does perhaps suggest that traders could be better sellers in this risk-toxic environment,” Stephen Innes, Asia-Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader, said in a note.
dropped 2% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index
slipped 0.4%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200
fell 1.8% and New Zealand’s NZX 50
slid 1%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan
all declined. Markets in mainland China and South Korea were closed for holidays.
Among individual stocks, SoftBank
, Fast Retailing
all sank in Tokyo trading. Casino operator Galaxy Entertainment
rose in Hog Kong, while Wharf Real Estate
declined. In Australia, Beach Energy
and Westpac Banking
Markets already were on edge about whether President Donald Trump’s tariff battle with Beijing, which is weighing on trade worldwide, might tip the global economy into recession.
U.S. and Chinese negotiators are due to meet this month for a 13th round of talks aimed at ending the fight over Beijing’s trade surplus and technology policies. The two sides have made conciliatory gestures including postponing or lifting some punitive tariffs, but there has been no sign of progress toward settling the core issues in the dispute.
Also Wednesday, investors increased their bets the Federal Reserve will slash interest rates at its next meeting to shield the economy from slowing growth abroad and the effects of the trade war.
Markets are pricing in a 75% probability the Fed will cut short-term rates by half a percentage point at its Oct. 29-30 meeting. The Fed hasn’t cut rates by that large a margin since the 2008 financial crisis.
Benchmark U.S. crude
gained 13 cents to $52.77 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged 98 cents on Wednesday to close at $52.64. Brent crude
, used to price international oils, lost 6 cents to $57.63 per barrel in London. It fell $1.20 the previous session to $57.69.
edged down to 107.14 yen from Wednesday’s 107.19 yen.