Singapore, Dec 26 (AP/UNB) — Asian markets were mostly lower on Wednesday after President Donald Trump said that there was "nothing new" in efforts to end the partial government shutdown over a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Traders had no fresh leads from Wall Street, which was closed on Christmas. U.S. stocks are headed for their worst December since the Great Depression in 1931.
KEEPING SCORE: South Korea's Kospi gave up 1.6 percent to 2,022.36 and the Shanghai Composite index shed 0.1 percent to 2,503.05. Japan's Nikkei 225 index, which plunged 5 percent on Tuesday, picked up 0.5 percent to 19,241.87. Shares rose in Taiwan but fell in Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. Markets in Hong Kong and Australia were closed.
U.S. SHUTDOWN: The partial shutdown of the U.S. government that started Saturday shows no signs of abating. "Nothing new. Nothing new on the shutdown. Nothing new. Except we need border security," Trump told reporters. The White House said Trump will reject any deal that does not include any funding for a wall or a fence. The Democrats have opposed this and are offering $1.3 billion for security. The routines of 800,000 federal employees are expected to be disrupted by the shutdown, but essential services will keep running.
FED CRITICISM: Trump's criticism of the U.S. central bank triggered a drop in Asian equities on Tuesday. "The only problem our economy has is the Fed," the president said on Twitter. "They don't have a feel for the Market, they don't understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders." Trump has since said the hikes were a "form of safety" for an economy that was doing well, while stressing that the Fed was raising interest rates too quickly.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "The outsized moves are not reflective of the current U.S. economic landscape, but that seems to matter little so far as fear mongering continues to permeate every pocket of global capital markets," Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a market commentary.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 15 cents to $42.68 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract settled at $42.53 a barrel in New York on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 19 cents to $50.28 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 110.45 yen from 110.31 yen. The euro rose to $1.1414 from $1.1392.
Beijing, Dec 25 (AP/UNB) — Japanese stocks plunged Tuesday and other Asian markets declined following heavy Wall Street losses triggered by President Donald Trump's attack on the U.S. central bank.
The Nikkei 225 fell by an unusually wide margin of 5.1 percent to 19,147.45 points. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 2.1 percent to 2,473.75. Benchmarks in Thailand and Taiwan also declined.
Markets in Hong Kong, Australia and South Korea were closed for Christmas.
Wall Street indexes fell more than 2 percent on Monday after Trump said on Twitter the Federal Reserve was the U.S. economy's "only problem." Efforts by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to calm investor fears only seemed to make matters worse.
U.S. stocks are track for their worst December since 1931 during the Great Depression.
The market has been roiled by concerns about a slowing global economy, the trade dispute with China and another interest rate increase by the Fed.
Trump's Monday morning tweet heightened fears about the economy being destabilized by a president who wants control over the Fed. Its board members are nominated by the president, but they make decisions independently of the White House. The board's chairman, Jerome Powell, was nominated by Trump last year.
"The only problem our economy has is the Fed," the president said on Twitter. "They don't have a feel for the Market, they don't understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders. The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can't score because he has no touch — he can't putt!"
The Standard & Poor's 500 index slid 2.7 percent to 2,351.10. The benchmark index is now down 19.8 percent from its peak on Sept. 20, close to the 20 percent drop that would officially mean the end of the longest bull market for stocks in modern history — a run of nearly 10 years.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 2.9 percent to 21,792.20. The Nasdaq skidded 2.2 percent to 6,192.92.
On Sunday, Mnuchin made a round of calls to the heads of the six largest U.S. banks, but the move only raised new concerns about the economy.
Most economists expect U.S. economic growth to slow in 2019, not slide into a full-blown recession. But the president has voiced his anger over the Fed's decision to raise its key short-term rate four times in 2018. That is intended to prevent the economy from overheating.
Technology stocks, health care companies and banks took some of the heaviest losses in Monday's sell-off. Wells Fargo slid 3.4 percent, Microsoft 4.2 percent and Johnson & Johnson 4.1 percent.
U.S. markets reopen Wednesday.
In energy markets, Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 9 cents to $50.68 per barrel in London. The contract plummeted $3.33 on Monday to close at $50.77.
In currency trading, the dollar gained to 110.15 yen from Monday's 110.45 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1417 from $1.1405.
London, Dec 23 (AP/UNB) — The U.S. dispute with China over a ban on tech giant Huawei is spilling over to Europe, the company's biggest foreign market, where some countries are also starting to shun its network systems over data security concerns.
Some European governments and telecom companies are following the U.S.'s lead in questioning whether using Huawei for vital infrastructure for mobile networks could leave them exposed to snooping by the Chinese government.
Bans in Europe could significantly increase the financial pressures on Huawei. They would also cost Europe tens of billions of dollars as the region looks to build up "5G" networks, which are meant to support a vast expansion in internet-connected things, from self-driving cars to factory robots and remote surgery.
"Europe is still divided over Huawei, but the trendline is moving in a fairly clear direction" as the U.S. exerts pressure on allies to block it, said Thorsten Benner, director of the Berlin-based Global Public Policy Institute think tank.
Geopolitical tensions over Huawei intensified after its chief financial officer, who is also the daughter of founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested Dec. 1 in Canada in connection with U.S. accusations that the company violated restrictions on sales of American technology to Iran.
Huawei has been blocked in the U.S. since 2012, when a House Intelligence Committee report found it was a security risk and recommended that the government and private companies stop buying its network equipment.
Germany's Deutsche Telekom said last week it "takes the global discussion about the security of network elements from Chinese manufacturers very seriously." The company said it uses multiple companies to build its network, including Ericsson, Nokia and Cisco.
"Nevertheless, we are currently reevaluating our procurement strategy," the company said.
The statement is significant because until recently it had been one of Huawei's "biggest cheerleaders" based on its cheap and reliable equipment, said Benner.
It came shortly after Alex Younger, the director of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, said in a speech that Britain needs "to decide the extent to which we are going to be comfortable with Chinese ownership of these technologies," according to local media reports.
At about the same time, mobile provider British Telecom said it was removing Huawei equipment from key parts of its current 3G and 4G networks as part of an internal policy not to use it for core infrastructure, which will also apply to 5G networks.
The British government-run center that tests the company's equipment and software this summer identified "shortcomings in Huawei's engineering processes that have exposed new risks" in U.K. networks. Huawei said it's working on fixing those issues.
Norway's telecom ministry said it was considering clarifying requirements from network operators, without being more specific.
Belgium's cybersecurity agency is reportedly considering a ban on Huawei. And the Czech Republic's prime minister ordered his government office on Tuesday to stop using Huawei mobile phones, after the national cybersecurity agency warned that products by Huawei and another Chinese telecom company, ZTE, pose "a security threat."
The European Union's head of technology policies, Andrus Ansip, said "we have to be worried" about possible security risks from Huawei when asked about the company's role in European 5G and driverless car projects.
Huawei, founded in 1987 by a former military engineer, denies accusations it's controlled by China's ruling Communist Party or designs equipment to facilitate eavesdropping. It said it recognizes and shares security concerns around the rollout of new 5G networks and is happy to take part in Deutsche Telekom's review.
The company noted German officials have said publicly there's no reason to exclude Huawei and it has never been involved in any confirmed cybersecurity breaches.
"Cybersecurity is incredibly important to Huawei. It is central to every decision and product we make," said Vincent Pang, the company's president for Western Europe. "We think the answer lies in global cooperation and collaboration to ensure that networks are as secure as possible."
The Europe, Middle East and Africa market is Huawei's second biggest after China, accounting for 27 percent of its nearly $90 billion revenue last year. Executives said the company has now signed contracts with 25 telecom carriers for commercial or test use of 5G and shipped more than 10,000 5G base stations.
The rollout of 5G networks is expected to take a decade. As technologies advance, the amount of data flowing between machines is set to surge, prompting governments to increasingly view telecom networks as strategic national assets.
Not everyone is endorsing quick action to ban Huawei.
The CEO of the French telecom company Orange, Stephane Richard, said last week his company wouldn't use Huawei gear for sensitive parts of its network because of "messages of prudence" from French authorities. But he said that was not for any technical reason, and that the debate on Huawei had become politicized.
"We're in the realm of fantasy: 'They're Chinese. They have links to the Chinese army, thus there are spies, thus we can't let them touch our telecom equipment'," he said.
Excluding Huawei won't be easy, analysts said.
"It's not like there's some cheaper alternative," said Paul Triolo, head of geotechnology practice at the Eurasia Group. "Ericsson and Nokia don't produce the whole spectrum" of equipment, referring to the Scandinavian companies that are the only non-Chinese competitors.
Huawei has thrived in major European markets like Germany and Britain because their telecom industries wanted to ensure there were multiple equipment suppliers to avoid relying on one.
"So if you're asking them to remove a major vendor from their markets, it's going to be difficult," Triolo said.
German companies won't be happy if they can't use Huawei because their costs will go up and it will delay rolling out 5G networks, which will initially rely on existing 4G infrastructure for which Huawei is already a major supplier, said Benner.
But German decisions are also likely to influence those by smaller countries that are part of the German industrial manufacturing supply chain, such as Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
"They'll all wake up if Germany takes a decision and worries about the security of its infrastructure," said Benner.
Singapore, Nov 16 (AP/UNB) — Shares were mixed in early trading in Asia on Friday on revived concerns over the prospects for a breakthrough in trade tensions between the U.S. and China.
Keeping Score: Japan's Nikkei 225 index lost 0.4 percent to 21,717.57 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gave up 0.5 percent to 25,967.01. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.2 percent to 2,091.63 while Australia's S&P ASX 200 was flat at 5,737.50. The Shanghai Composite index edged 0.1 percent lower to 2,664.81. Shares in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.
Wall Street Rebound: Gains for technology companies and banks helped reverse an early slide for U.S. stocks Thursday, breaking a five-day losing streak for the market. The S&P 500 index rose 1.1 percent to 2,730.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.8 percent to 25,289.27. The Nasdaq composite climbed 1.7 percent to 7,259.03 and the Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 1.4 percent to 1,524.12.
China-U.S. Trade: Thursday's U.S. market rebound coincided with a Financial Times report citing unnamed sources that said the United States' trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, has told some executives that a planned escalation in January of U.S. tariffs on imported goods from China are now on hold. The Trump administration has imposed a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods over complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology as the price of market access. That tariff had been due to rise to 25 percent in January. Another $50 billion of Chinese goods already is subject to 25 percent duties. Beijing has responded with penalty duties on $110 billion of American goods. Washington and Beijing resumed talks over their spiraling trade dispute this week ahead of a meeting between Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump, China's Commerce Ministry said Thursday.
Brexit: Major European stock indexes closed mostly lower on Thursday following a flare-up in discord over British Prime Minister Theresa May's plan for Britain's departure from the European Union next year. She persuaded a majority in her Cabinet to back an agreement that would allow Britain to stay in a customs union while a trade treaty is negotiated, but the deal faces an uncertain fate in Parliament and two of her Cabinet ministers, including the Brexit minister, resigned in protest. The disarray surrounding the process sent the pound lower and hit British bank stocks. Barclay's slid 5.1 percent to $8.54 and Royal Bank of Scotland slumped 8.9 percent to $5.93.
Energy: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 20 cents to $56.66 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It added 0.4 percent to settle at $56.46 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained $24 cents to $66.86 a barrel. Despite the latest uptick, U.S. crude oil is still down about 13.5 percent for the month.
Currencies: The dollar slipped to 113.40 yen from 113.64 yen on Thursday. The euro strengthened to $1.1341 from $1.1326. The pound steadied at $1.2790, up from $1.2771.