The threat of a global trade war sent stock markets sliding and investors rushing for the safety of currencies like the yen and government bonds on Friday, after US President Donald Trump announced tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese goods.
Another bruising week for stocks has left global equity markets heading for their first quarterly loss since early 2016 after a spike in volatility, nervousness about rising inflation and the specter of a trade war spooked investors enjoying a multi-year bull run.
European stocks fell at the open, with Germany's Dax down 1.6 percent, the French CAC 40 1.5 percent lower and Britain's FTSE 100 0.6 percent in the red.
That followed large falls in the US, with the S&P 500 shedding 2.5 percent, and overnight in Asia, where the Japanese Nikkei 225 was the biggest loser slumping 4.5 percent.
The MSCI World Index, down 3.4 percent since Monday, is on course for its worst week since early February when a spike in volatility sent markets into a tailspin.
Trump signed a presidential memorandum on Thursday that could impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of imports from China, although the measures have a 30-day consultation period.
China urged the United States to “pull back from the brink”, but investors fear Trump’s tariffs are leading the world’s two largest economies into a trade war with potentially dire consequences for the global economy.
China disclosed its own plans on Friday to impose tariffs on up to $3 billion of U.S. imports in retaliation against the U.S. tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum products.
Date created : 2018-03-23