Donald Trump has kicked off the process of imposing tariffs on a further $200bn of imports from China in a significant escalation of the trade war between the two economic powers.
The president has told the US trade representative Robert Lighthizer to begin preparations for levies of 10 per cent, the administration said, as it set forth a long list of products that may be targeted.
The announcement triggered declines in financial markets as traders reacted to the worsening relations between the two nations, and prompted sharp criticism from senior figures within the president’s own party.
Chinese and Hong Kong stocks fell on Wednesday following the announcement. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng China Enterprises index of large Chinese companies listed in the territory was down 1.8 per cent, while the broader Hang Seng index shed 1.6 per cent. The CSI 300 of Shanghai and Shenzhen stocks slipped 1.8 per cent.
Elsewhere in the region, Japan’s Topix was down 0.8 per cent, South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.6 per cent and Australian stocks shed 0.7 per cent.
Futures tip the FTSE 100 to drop 0.6 per cent at the open, while the S&P 500 is expected to fall 0.7 per cent when trading begins.
Corporate earnings and updates out today include Barratt Developments, Burberry, Micro Focus and PageGroup.
The economic calendar for Wednesday is not exactly bursting at the seams (all times London):
- 08.00: Czech Republic consumer price index
- 08.00: Mario Draghi speaks at ECB statistics conference
- 08.00: Turkey current account balance