Asia Markets

Asia markets mixed as US-China trade jitters linger

Key Points
  • Asia markets were mixed on the first trading day of the week as U.S.-China trade tensions remained in focus.
  • Last Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump said tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods could "take place very soon."
  • Trump also said the U.S. was ready to impose tariffs on an additional $267 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Asian markets were mixed on Monday as trade tensions between the U.S. and China remained in focus.

Both the and South Korea's Kospi extended their earlier gains to close higher. The Nikkei 225 ended the day up by 0.3 percent at 22,373.09 while the Kospi saw gains of 0.31 percent at 2,288.66, with industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics rising 1.34 percent.

Down Under, the ASX 200 recovered from its earlier losses to end the trading day largely flat, even though the heavily weighted financials sector closed 0.14 percent lower.

The Greater China markets, however, suffered losses, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng index down 1.62 percent as of 3:29 p.m. HK/SIN. Over on the mainland, the closed lower by 1.21 percent at 2,669.49 while the Shenzhen composite fell by 1.845 percent to end at 1,406.92.

Wall Street ended the trading week in negative territory on Friday. The slid by 0.3 percent to close at 7,902.54, declining for the fourth straight day and posting its worst start to September since 2008. The fell 0.2 percent to close at 2,871.68. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 79.33 points to 25,916.54.

The moves stateside came after U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that the country was primed to impose tariffs on an additional $267 billion worth in Chinese goods. Trump's comments came following the end of a deadline for public comment on U.S. tariffs for another $200 billion in Chinese goods.

While the U.S. tariffs on $200 billion Chinese goods have not been implemented, Trump said they could "take place very soon, depending on what happens with them."

In a morning note, Mizuho Bank said Trump has "left no doubt" that the tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports into the U.S. are "imminent."

"What's striking is that escalating US trade aggression suggests that the appeals of US businesses, warning that tariffs will place burden of rising costs disproportionately on US businesses and consumers, have been in vain on Trump's administration," the note said.

Echoing that sentiment, Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics, warned in a note: "We expect the trade conflict to escalate further before subsequent de-escalation, when the negative impact in the US becomes more visible."

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, was at 95.531 as of 3:08 p.m. HK/SIN, climbing from its earlier low.

The Japanese yen lost its earlier gains but was still up slightly against the greenback at 111.01, while the Australian dollar was largely flat at $0.7104, as of 3:18 p.m. HK/SIN.

In oil markets, prices continued to increase in the afternoon of Asian trade. The global benchmark Brent crude futures rose 0.92 percent at $77.54 a barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained by 0.68 percent at $68.21 a barrel.

— CNBC's Fred Imbert contributed to this report.