Global markets retreated on Thursday as growing concerns about global trade tensions weighed on investors’ risk appetite, after United States President Donald Trump sought to impose fresh tariffs on China.
Shares on Wall Street fell for a third straight session overnight and Asian markets tracked the drop in U.S. shares early on Thursday.
“The equity market has been holding up relatively well, but it will have to decline some more if U.S. shares deepen their losses,” Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo told Reuters.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.45 percent.
In the Middle East, most stock markets fell or ended the day close to the previous session’s levels, amid profit-taking.
Saudi Arabia’s index edged down 0.03 percent to 7,775 points. Al Rajhi Bank pulled back 2.2 percent.
Saudi Automotive Services jumped 3.7 percent after its board proposed a capital increase to 600 million riyals ($160 million) from 540 million riyals, using retained earnings to fund expansion.
Retailer United Electronics climbed 6.9 percent to 67.30 riyals. EFG Hermes raised its target price for the stock to 90 riyals from 50 riyals and, earlier this month, CI Capital raised its target by 38 percent to 80 riyals.
Dubai’s index edged up 0.02 percent as builder Drake & Scull surged 2.8 percent.
Neighbouring Abu Dhabi’s index fell 0.4 percent.
Egypt’s blue-chip index fell 0.6 percent on profit-taking.
Bahrain’s index was flat, Oman’s index edged down 0.1 percent, while Kuwait’s index rose 0.3 percent.
In commodities, oil prices edged up early on Thursday supported by healthy global demand. Rising U.S. production has been undermining ongoing production cuts led by OPEC to end a supply glut.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 17 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $61.13 a barrel by 0245 GMT.
Brent crude futures were at $65 per barrel, up 11 cents, or 0.2 percent.
In currencies, the dollar retreated on Thursday on concerns over a global trade war.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major peers, held steady at 89.670. The dollar index has shed roughly 0.5 percent so far this week.
Gold, seen as a safe haven, edged up early on Thursday.
Spot gold rose 0.2 percent to $1,326.71 per ounce at 0108 GMT.