Trade war fear? FTSE, Asian stocks in the red as Trump unveils steel tariff plan


President Trump plans to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminium imports

Stock markets in Asia and FTSE responded negatively after US President Donald Trump announced plans to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

The trade salvo has sparked global concerns of retaliatory moves from major trade partners like China, Europe and neighbouring Canada — the largest source of US steel imports.

Trump had tweeted that the US had been “decimated by unfair trade and bad policy”. He said steel imports would face a 25 per cent tariff and aluminium 10 per cent.

The news sent shares in Asia down this morning, with Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 losing more than 2 per cent by mid-morning. The FTSE 100 also fell 0.38 per cent to 7,148.66 when the market opened at 8am. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 lost 36.16 points, or 1.33 percent, to 2,677.67 on Thursday.

Raising fears of a trade war, Australian trade minister Steven Ciobo told reporters: “The imposition of a tariff like this will do nothing other than distort trade and ultimately, we believe, will lead to a loss of jobs,” adding: “My concern remains that on the back of actions like this we could see retaliatory measures that are put in place by other major economies. That is in no-one’s interest.”

Oil prices were also under pressure, having fallen more than one per cent the previous day.