Asian markets sink as Trump further stokes trade war fears
Asian markets mostly fell Thursday as US President Donald Trump's ban preventing US companies from using foreign telecoms equipment jolted investors who saw it as targeting Chinese providers and risking another flare-up in an already tense trade war.
The president insisted the executive order, which he based on national security grounds, was not aimed at any particular country, but it is the latest move in a row that has seen Washington raise concerns about the spying threat posed by China's Huawei.
The Trump administration has for months tried to persuade allies not to allow China a role in building next-generation 5G mobile networks, warning that doing so would result in restrictions on sharing of information with the United States.
The announcement comes as trade tensions between the economic superpowers are rising after the US hiked tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods last week, to which Beijing retaliated.
"Earlier, the US Commerce Department had added Huawei to a list of entities that prohibits them from acquiring US-made technology and components without a government licence," said OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley.
"If that's not an escalation in trade tensions, then I don't know what is."
The dollar fell against its major peers and most higher-yielding currencies, with speculation swirling that the Federal Reserve could cut interest rates to fend off the effects of the trade war and slowing economic growth. Such talk comes just months after some commentators had been predicting up to three hikes this year.