MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan extended losses as President Donald Trump continued with his rhetoric on protecting U.S. industries, further stoking concerns of trade wars with major trading partners.
The Nikkei Asia300 Index declined 1.3% to 1,413.91, adding to its more-than-one-per-cent loss on Friday. South Korea's Hyundai Steel and Taiwan-listed China Steel Corp. dropped at least 1.4% each, extending their drop from Friday after Trump proposed to impose a 25% tariff on steel imports. India's Tata Steel declined 3%, while aluminum producer Hindalco Industries slipped 4.7% following Trump's plan for 10% tariff on the metal.
Hyundai Motor added to its Friday's losses, falling 1.9%, as the planned tariffs on aluminum and steel would raise the cost of production in the U.S. China Unicom Hong Kong tumbled 6% as at least three brokers cut the target price on the telecom operator after its profit alert for financial year 2017 missed expectations.
In early Asian hours on Monday, Trump said in a Twitter post that countries had taken advantage of U.S. for "many years" and that it was time to protect interest of U.S. producers. The comment signaled that he is unlikely to back down from last week's proposals for slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. His latest remark followed Friday's statement that "trade wars are good" and "easy to win," which had already led to concerns of fiction between major economies. Europe has warned of retaliatory action if the U.S. went ahead with the tariffs, which Trump responded to by threatening to impose tax on European car imports into the U.S.
"The threat of trade wars darkens the positive picture painted by recently concluded corporate reporting around the globe," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.
The U.S. equity index futures pointed to more losses on Wall Street when markets open after the weekend. In regional markets, Hong Kong's benchmark index paced losses with a 2.3% fall.
Meanwhile, China will aim to achieve an economic growth of 6.5% in 2018, the country's Premier Li Keqiang said at the opening of the annual meeting of parliament on Monday. The country trimmed its budget deficit target to 2.6% of the gross domestic product from 3% in the previous year and left consumer inflation target unchanged at 3%.
In country indexes complied by Nikkei, China dropped 2.1%, Hong Kong lost 2.6%, South Korea declined 0.8%, and India shed 1.3%. Taiwan's index edged lower by 0.3%.
The Nikkei Asia300 ASEAN Index of Southeast Asian companies closed 0.5% lower.