(RTTNews.com) - Asian shares tumbled on Tuesday as a trade dispute between China and the U.S. intensified and oil turned volatile ahead of a critical meeting of crude-producing nations that will determine whether it's time to ramp up production.
Traders eyed looming trade wars after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened new tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods and Beijing vowed to "immediately" retaliate.
Chinese stocks hit two-year low and the yuan weakened after the Ministry of Commerce vowed to retaliate with "strong" counter measures against U.S. companies, deepening a trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite index plunged 114.08 points or 3.78 percent to 2,907.82 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 2.78 percent to close at 29,468.15.
Japanese shares posted their biggest single-day loss in three months to reach 2-1/2-week lows as a strong yen amid escalating global trade tensions soured investors' appetite for risk.
The Nikkei average ended down 401.85 points or 1.77 percent at 22,278.48, the lowest level since June 1, as the dollar fell below 110 yen. The broader Topix index closed 1.55 percent lower at 1,743.92.
China-related Komatsu fell 2.5 percent and Hitachi Construction Machinery dropped 1.5 percent. Fujifilm Holdings shed 1.6 percent after it sued Xerox for a canceled merger. Flea market app Mercari soared 76.7 percent from its IPO price on its debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Australian shares gave up early gains to finish marginally lower as RBA's June Board meeting minutes offered little surprise on the macro front. Healthcare stocks such as CSL and Cochlear climbed 1-3 percent as the Aussie dollar extended its slide to hit a fresh 2018 low.
Energy stocks such as Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Oil Search all rose about 1 percent, helped by an overnight rebound in crude oil prices. Macquarie Group rallied 1.8 percent after Morgan Stanley upgraded the investment bank's stock rating. The big four banks ended on a mixed note.
IAG jumped 2.4 percent after it entered into an agreement with Japanese insurer Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co to sell its Thai and Indonesian operations. Mineral Resources slumped 4.4 percent as junior miner Atlas Iron gave it three days to match a buyout offer from Hancock Prospecting.
Seoul stocks fell on trade worries after South Korea's central bank governor said the domestic outlook has become clouded by the U.S.-China trade spat and weak job growth.
The benchmark Kospi dropped 36.13 points or 1.52 percent to 2,340.11. Steelmaker Posco tumbled as much as 4.5 percent while market heavyweight Samsung Electronics rose 0.9 percent to snap a four-day losing streak.
New Zealand shares tumbled as trade war worries spooked investors. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 110.99 points or 1.24 percent to 8,863.24.
India's Sensex was moving down half a percent and Singapore's Straits Times index was declining 0.4 percent while benchmark indexes in Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan were down 1-2 percent.
Overnight, U.S. stocks ended mixed on concerns that rising trade tensions between the U.S. and China could negatively affect GDP growth. Disappointing housing market data also weighed on markets.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.4 percent to end lower for the fifth consecutive session and the S&P 500 eased 0.2 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite managed to finish marginally higher.
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