Asian shares pare gains as US-China tensions intensify

Asian shares pared gains on Wednesday, led by losses in Chinese stocks, after Beijing vowed retaliatory sanctions against the United States, while the euro rose to a four-month high on the prospect of stimulus ahead of a crucial EU summit.

Asian Shares

  • MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was last up 0.14%, after rising over 1% earlier in the session.
  • Chinese shares were deep in red, with the blue-chip CSI300 index off 1%.
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index down 0.6%.
  • Japan’s Nikkei and Australia’s benchmark index remained upbeat though, and were up 1.4% and 1%, respectively.
  • E-mini futures for the S&P 500 gave back some of their gains but were still up 0.7%.

Currency Markets

  • The euro went as high as $1.1423, its strongest since March 10 and not far off its peak so far this year of $1.1495. It was last at $1.1395.
  • The yen was little moved at 107.27 per dollar, off a two-week high of 106.635 ahead of the Bank of Japan’s policy announcement later in the day where it is expected to keep monetary policy steady.
  • The risk-sensitive Australian dollar, too, pared gains to be last up 0.2% at $0.6990.

Commodities

  • Spot gold rose to $1,809 an ounce.
  • Oil prices rose on Wednesday after a sharp drop in US crude inventories.
  • Brent crude futures were up 24 cents at $43.14 a barrel, and US crude futures rose 22 cents to $40.50 a barrel.

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