Asian equities cratered today on threats of new US tariffs as US-China tensions led to a risk-off day. Media outlets have outlined a meeting with President Trump and his reelection team on how to counter his standing in swing states polls. Recommendations included stopping his daily press conferences and taking advantage of poor voter views of China. Unfortunately, we should expect more rhetoric leading up to the election.
Three markets were spared the carnage due to the market holiday. Japan is closed until Thursday, Mainland China reopens Wednesday, and Thailand is closed today, open tomorrow, and closed again on Wednesday.
Hong Kong’s Q1 GDP came in at -8.9% after the market close though Hong Kong’s quarantine is ending. Today’s most heavily traded stocks Tencent, Alibaba , AIA, and Ping An sank -4.08%, -3.71%, -5.63%, and -2.13%, respectively, as brokers cited Amazon and Apple ’s weakness as weighing on high growth stocks. The energy sector was a disaster while real estate firm Soho (410 HK) plunged -25.68% after reports that investment from US private equity firm Blackstone fell through. This was not a great start to the week.
The US-China Business Council, a non-partisan non-profit comprised of 200 US companies that do business in China, released its 2020 State Export Report, which contained a multitude of interesting data points. Despite trade tensions, China was the third-largest export market for US goods worth $104 billion, which is well off the $127 billion pre-trade war. In comparison, Canada received $281B, Mexico $248B, and Japan $72B. China also ranks third for receiving US service exports, which totaled $55B in 2019, behind the United Kingdom’s $73B and Canada’s $63B. Service exports have increased by 229% over the last decade. What is counted in services? China’s tourism in the US accounts for $17B, while Chinese students studying accounts for another $13.5B. Financial services, royalties, and trademarks make up the rest. Just under 1 million US jobs are supported by US exports to China. However, 100,000 jobs have been lost due to the trade war.