ASIA CLOSING REPORT : 2ND-JULY-2018 July 02, 2018 at 06:51AM




Major Asian markets declined on Monday, the first trading day of the second half of the year, as heavy losses were recorded in China ahead of a looming deadline when tariffs from both Washington and Beijing are
expected to take effect.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.95 percent, touching a session low despite continued weakness in the yen. Losses were broad-based, with retailers and the food sector among the worst performers in the afternoon.
Retail stocks were down 2.6 percent, with Fast Retailing lower by 1.37 percent.

Over in Seoul, losses on the Kospi steepened day, with the index last trading lower by 1.5 percent. Samsung Electronics gave up slight gains in the morning to slide 1.18 percent as losses in heavyweight tech and
manufacturing plays dragged the index lower. Steelmaker Posco dropped 4.1 percent. Elsewhere, the Shanghai composite fell 1.13 percent, while the smaller Shenzhen composite shed 0.5 percent. The fresh declines come after mainland markets staged a rebound in
the previous session, with the Shanghai benchmark closing higher by 2.2 percent on Friday after four straight days of losses. Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 erased early gains and hovered around the flat line, last lower by 0.03 percent as consumer stocks and
gold producers traded lower in the afternoon. Markets in Hong Kong, meanwhile, were closed on Monday for a holiday.

The cautious mood in the market comes as investors keep an eye on trade tensions between the U.S. and its trading partners, most notably China. U.S. tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese products are expected to take
effect on July 6, with China set to retaliate with duties of its own on the same value of American goods.

Despite that uncertainty, Wall Street closed slightly higher on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 0.23 percent, or 55.36 points, to close at 24,271.41.

On the energy front, President Donald Trump unexpectedly announcedwhat he claimed was a new agreement with Saudi Arabia. Trump said in a tweet that Saudi Arabia had agreed to raise production by up to 2 million
barrels per day, while the White House somewhat tempered the president’s proclamation. Trump’s announcement came a week after OPEC reached a decision on increasing oil production after curbing output since 2017 in a bid to boost prices. Oil prices were lower
on Monday, with U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures falling 1.24 percent to trade at $73.23 per barrel and Brent crude futures dropping 1.31 percent to $78.19.

* The manufacturing sector in Australia continued to expand in June, albeit at a slower rate, the Australian Industry Group said on Monday with a Performance of Manufacturing index score of 57.4.

* A central bank survey released Monday showed Japan’s corporate outlook has worsened from three months ago, highlighting risks to this export-reliant economy from trade tensions. The Bank of Japan’s “tankan”
survey measuring confidence among large-scale manufacturers was at 21 points, down 3 from the March survey, which was the first decline in two years.

* The Caixin China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index slipped to 51.0 in June, from 51.1 in May, Caixin Media Co. and research firm Markit said on Monday. The 50 level separates an expansion in manufacturing
activity from a contraction.



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