China Defends Record, Seeks to Head Off Looming Trade War

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China Defends Record, Seeks to Head Off Looming Trade War

The German DAX and France's CAC 40 index both rose by 0.9 percent while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 advanced 1.1 percent.

South Korea's tech-heavy KOSPI slipped as much as 0.97 percent to hit its lowest in almost 10 months.

WALL STREET: U.S. stocks finished slightly higher Tuesday, a day after heavy sell-offs. The drop highlights concerns about a trade war with the U.S. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose less than 0.1 percent to 22,342.00 while South Korea's Kospi lost 0.3 percent to 2,350.92. The blue-chip index fell 1.1 percent on Thursday.

Restrictions on USA exports to China - of sensitive technologies that the government wants to protect - will backfire, hampering President Donald Trump's intention to lower his nation's trade deficit, according to Commerce Ministry spokesperson Gao Feng on Thursday.

Liu He, vice-premier of China's State Council, who is responsible for relations with the European Union and the U.S., said the meeting last week saw both sides agree to firmly oppose unilateralism and protectionism and prevent such practices from impacting the world economy or even dragging the world economy into recession.

TECH DOWNTURN: Eyes will be on USA technology stocks, which had tumbled Monday on reports that the Trump administration plans to limit exports of some high-tech products to China, and also limit investment in technology firms by companies with substantial Chinese ownership. It didn't address complaints Beijing hampers access to promising industries and that plans for state-led development of Chinese champions in electric cars and other industries violate its free trade commitments. He urged Congress to strengthen existing laws that apply to all foreign countries instead.

The state-owned China Daily newspaper, in a separate editorial on Wednesday, said USA industries and workers could eventually "feel the pain" as Trump's policies were affecting global supply chains.

The Chinese yuan is getting hosed, falling to the lowest this year on Wednesday. In response, China will raise import duties on $34 billion worth of American goods.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "There is a sense that trade tensions could be long drawn and somewhat more antagonistic going forward", said Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and macro strategy at Mizuho Bank.

US oil prices hit a 3-1/2-year high as plunging USA crude stockpiles compounded supply worries in a market already uncertain about uncertain Libyan exports, a production disruption in Canada and Washington's demands that importers stop buying Iranian crude.

US crude futures last traded at $72.51 a barrel, down 0.33 percent in Asian trade.

U.S. crude futures surged 3.16 per cent on Wednesday, rising as high as US$73.06 a barrel, the highest since Nov 28, 2014, on signs of tight supply.

USA crude added 17 cents to US$70.70, having surged 3.6 per cent overnight, while Brent climbed 18 cents to US$76.49 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar edged down to 110.18 yen from 110.20 Japanese yen in late trading Wednesday. The euro was back at US$1.1650, having run into profit-taking at a top of US$1.1720 overnight.

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