Asian markets edged lower on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened more tariffs hikes on Chinese imports if trade negotiations failed to meet an agreement.
In a speech on Tuesday. Trump said that the agreement on the “Phase 1” deal announced last month “could happen soon,” but he warned he was ready to raise tariffs on Chinese imports “very substantially” if talks fail.
The talks appear to be held up on China’s pressure for Washington to roll back some of the tariffs. The Chinese government said last week that negotiators agreed, but Trump denied that.
Despite Trump’s comments, U.S. market indexes were slightly lifted. During mid-day Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 59.97 points or 0.22%. The S&P 500 edged higher by 3.93 points or 0.13%, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 6.62 points or 0.08%.
However, Trump’s remark sent Asian markets spiraling lower on Wednesday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index tumbled by 493.82 points or 1.82%, while the Shanghai Composite retreated by 9.58 points or 0.33%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell by 200.14 points or 0.85%. South Korea’s KOSPI Composite declined by 18.47 points or 0.86%.
Hong Kong markets are being hammered down by weak global demand, the U.S.-China trade war, and the ongoing protests.
The Hang Seng Index has continued to tumble throughout the week because of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. The protests escalated further after a protestor was shot on Monday. Moreover, protesters continued to block off streets and commuter rail tracks and set off gasoline bombs at the University of Hong Kong.
Since last week Friday, the Hang Seng Index has cratered by 1,323.1 points or 4.74%.