Asian stocks were mostly higher Monday, despite a new Chinese threat of tariff hikes on U.S. goods, after Washington reported solid employment numbers.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 9 points to 22,533.81 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.7 percent to 27,870.07. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 1 percent to 2,713.58 while Seoul’s Kospi added 0.2 percent to 2,292.96. Sydney S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.5 percent to 6,266.00 and India’s Sensex was 0.5 percent higher at 37,788.60. Benchmarks in Taiwan and New Zealand and Southeast Asia gained while Bangkok and Manila declined.
The Chinese government issued a $60 billion list of U.S. goods including semiconductors and industrial chemicals targeted for retaliation if Washington goes ahead with its latest tariff threat. The Finance Ministry said the charges, ranging from 5 percent to 25 percent, will take effect if the Trump administration goes ahead with plans to impose 25-percent duties on $200 billion of Chinese goods. The two sides already have raised tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s goods in a dispute over Beijing’s technology policy.
Regulators tightened controls on trading in China’s yuan in a possible effort to stop its decline against the dollar. Traders were ordered to post a 20-percent deposit for contracts to buy or sell yuan, which raises the cost of betting it will fall further. The yuan has drifted lower against the dollar since February, which could help exporters that face higher U.S. tariffs but also raises the risk of capital flowing out of the economy. The central bank “had been largely tolerant” of the yuan’s decline, but the latest changes “may have gathered concerns including capital flight,” said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report.
Benchmark U.S. crude gained 25 cents to $68.74 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract sank 47 cents on Friday to close at $68.49. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 20 cents to $73.41 in London. It lost 24 cents the previous session to $73.21.
The dollar declined to 111.33 yen from Friday’s 111.26 yen. The euro edged down to $1.1563 from $1.1569.