KLCI dips 15.02 points as US tariff threat to China looms

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 9): The FBM KLCI dipped 15.02 points or 0.92% today as global markets took caution ahead of the next round of China-US trade talks. The talks are closely watched as a means to avert a planned US tariff hike on Chinese goods on Friday.

At Bursa Malaysia today, the KLCI ended at 1,618.53. In China, the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite ended 1.48% lower while Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 2.39%. Elsewhere across Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 closed down 0.93% while South Korea's Kospi fell 3.04%.

US stock futures also fell. At 5:37pm, the Dow and Nasdaq futures dropped 0.8% and  0.93% respectively. At 5:38pm, S&P futures fell 0.79%.

Reuters reported that Asian shares fell to eight-week lows on Thursday as investors waited to see whether Chinese and US trade negotiators can salvage a deal to stave off the threat of fresh US tariff increases, which would damage global economic growth.

It was reported that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is set for talks in Washington on Thursday and Friday with US officials who have complained that Beijing had backtracked on earlier commitments. It was reported that an agreement could avert a sharp increase in US tariffs on Chinese goods that President Donald Trump has threatened to impose on Friday. It was reported that China has threatened to retaliate, raising the risk of a major escalation in the bruising trade war between the world's two largest economies.

It was reported that Trump threatened to raise tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent on Friday from 10 percent. It was reported that he also said he would target a further US$325 billion of Chinese goods with 25 percent tariffs "shortly.

In Malaysia today, Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd head of research Pong Teng Siew said: “Last night, there was a big drop in US (stock) futures. Market is bracing itself for what’s to come. The likelihood for Trump’s tariffs to go ahead is high so expect retaliation from China.”

He said today stocks across Bursa Malaysia were more thinly traded than usual against such sentiment.

Across Bursa Malaysia, 2.14 billion shares were traded for RM2.02 billion.

Yesterday, volume stood at 2.47 bllion shares worth 2.06 billion.