Asian shares slid to their lowest in six months on Friday, on signs U.S. trade battles with China and many other countries are starting to chip away at corporate profits, while oil prices were choppy ahead of an OPEC meeting to discuss raising output. Saudi Arabia and Russia are pushing for an increase in oil production, and OPEC is expected to announce its decision at the conclusion of the gathering.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng hit six-month lows, having lost 3.9 percent so far this week. South Korea's KOSPI hit nine-month lows and in mainland China, the CSI300 index lost almost 5 percent this week to hit one-year lows. The Australian market is edging higher despite the weak cues from Wall Street and lower commodity prices. Gains by banks were offset by weakness in oil and telecom stocks. The Japanese market is also on the decline, with Nikkei shedding as much as 1%; the fall also aggravated by a stronger yen.
In a sign that escalating tensions between the United States and its trade partners were taking a toll on the economy, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s gauge of U.S. Mid-Atlantic business activity published on Thursday fell to a 1-1/2 year low. Despite budding signs of economic damage, trade frictions have shown no sign of abating.
Worsening sentiment pushed U.S. bond yields lower and triggered profit-taking in the dollar. As the dollar lost steam, the euro bounced back after hitting an 11-month low of $1.1508 on Thursday. The U.S. dollar is trading in the 110 yen-range on Friday. The British pound jumped back from a seven-month trough after the Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, unexpectedly joined the minority of policymakers calling for rates to rise to 0.75 percent, citing concerns about growing wage pressure.
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