TOKYO- Global shares slid on Thursday as a fresh row between Washington and Beijing over US bills on Hong Kong could complicate their trade negotiation and delay a “phase one” deal that investors had initially hoped to be inked by now.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.2 percent, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shedding 2 percent while Japan’s Nikkei dropped 1.6 percent. Chinese mainland shares dropped 0.6 percent.
US S&P500 futures dropped 0.5 percent in Asian trade, a day after MSCI’s broadest gauge of world stocks fell 0.4 percent, the biggest fall since early October. On Wall Street, all three major indexes fell, with the S&P 500 losing 0.38 percent.
The US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed two bills intended to support protesters in Hong Kong and send a warning to China about human rights.
The legislation, which has angered Beijing, has been sent to the White House for President Donald Trump’s approval. A person familiar with the matter said Trump was expected to sign it.
“China will surely take this as an interference into its domestic affairs and is likely to think it will no longer need to make concessions on trade,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
The move came as trade experts and people close to the White House said completion of a “phase one” US-China trade deal could slide into next year, as Beijing presses for more extensive tariff rollbacks, and the Trump administration counters with heightened demands of its own.
Trump said on Oct. 11 that the deal could take as long as five weeks, and investors had initially expected an agreement by mid-November.
Asked Wednesday about the status of the China deal, Trump told reporters in Texas: “I don’t think they’re stepping up to the level that I want.” – Reuters