Asian stocks were mixed on Wednesday after the escalation in the trade war left sentiment fragile. The yuan was little changed as traders showed a little immediate reaction to data showing China’s economy lost steam in April.
Stocks in Hong Kong, China and South Korea were modestly higher, with shares in Japan lagging. Equities pared gains on the weaker-than-expected Chinese retail sales and industrial production data. The dollar edged higher.
Oil retreated after an industry report was said to show a big jump in US crude and refined products supplies, undermining talk of a tight market.
Traders are gauging whether signs of rekindled investor appetite for risk assets will stick. The rally remains fragile as the White House announced it was preparing tariffs on the remaining $300 billion of Chinese imports, and economists warned the new penalties will eventually weigh heavily on the American economy.
In new developments, Trump called on the Federal Reserve to “match” what he said China would do to offset economic hardship being caused by tariffs. That comes as he prepares to meet his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, at next month’s G-20 summit, an encounter that could prove pivotal in a deepening clash over trade.