Asian stocks fell broadly on Tuesday after the Trump administration announced plans to reinstate tariffs on metal imports from Brazil and Argentina and proposed retaliatory tariffs against France for its new digital services tax.
Weak U.S. manufacturing data and worries that the U.S. could re-escalate trade tensions with China also kept investors nervous.
Chinese shares rose as investors picked up beaten-down stocks with low valuations. The benchmark Shanghai index briefly hit a more than three-month low before reversing course to end the session up 8.89 points, or 0.31 percent, at 2,884.70.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.2 percent to 26,391.30 after a government report showed the country’s retail sales fell for the ninth straight month in October.
Japanese shares retreated on fresh concerns about global trade. Weak U.S. manufacturing data also weighed on markets. The Nikkei average ended down 149.69 points, or 0.64 percent, at 23,379.81, while the broader Topix index closed 0.45 percent lower at 1,706.73.
Defensive shares paced the declines, with Kikkoman Corp and Nisshin Group falling around 3 percent. Drugmaker Astellas Pharma dropped 1.1 percent after it agreed to acquire Audentes Therapeutics Inc for about $3 billion in cash. Baby goods maker Pigeon plummeted 13.8 percent after slashing its annual outlook.
Australian markets posted their biggest intraday percentage loss in two months as fresh trade jitters put investors on the defensive.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index slumped 150 points, or 2.19 percent, to 6,712.30 while the broader All Ordinaires index dropped 146.90 points, or 2.11 percent, to 6,818.40.
Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto declined 1.4 percent and half a percent, respectively after the release of weak U.S. manufacturing data and tariff imposition on Brazilian and Argentinian steel.
The big four banks fell 1-3 percent as the Reserve Bank of Australia left its key interest rate