HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan declined Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump said progress in trade talks with Mexico was "not nearly enough."
The Nikkei Asia300 Index of companies outside Japan slipped 0.3% to 1,256.95.
The losses in Asian equities came amid comments by Trump on Twitter that not enough progress was made in talks between the U.S. and Mexican officials on Wednesday. Trump also said talks will resume Thursday with the understanding that if an agreement is not reached, imports from Mexico will be subject to tariffs from Monday.
Trump last week said that the U.S. will levy a 5% tariff on imports from Mexico, adding that charges would remain in place till Mexico took measures to arrest the flow of migrants.
Michael McCarthy, the chief market strategist at CMC Markets and Stockbroking, said that a "belligerent Trump" and slumping crude oil prices had soured the leads for Asia, outweighing the positive Wall Street cues.
"The central concern for the global economic outlook is the weaponization of tariffs to pursue political goals," he said. "In tying the threatened barriers to immigration, the U.S. president has taken the spreading trade disputes beyond economics."
In addition to the trade, investors were assessing the probability that the Federal Reserve could cut rates in the coming months. Earlier this week, a top Fed policymaker said that an interest rate cut may be warranted in light of muted inflation expectations and risks to growth posed by the trade uncertainties. Those were followed by comments by the Fed Chair Jerome Powell that suggested that the U.S. monetary authority could cut rates if the ongoing trade war affected the economic outlook.
Investors are also awaiting Friday's U.S. non-farm payrolls data. Economists polled by Reuters expect the U.S. economy to have added 185,000 jobs last month and average earnings to have grown by 0.3% month-on-month.
In movers on the A300 Index on Thursday, China Mobile rose 0.2%, while China Unicom (Hong Kong) edged 0.4% higher, and China Telecom added 2.3%. The three companies said Thursday that they won commercial licenses for fifth-generation telecommunication services in China.
Hon Hai Precision Industry added 0.1% after the iPhone assembler reported a 10.7% increase in sales last month from the same period a year earlier.
Largan Precision declined 4%. The lens supplier to Apple reported a 16.5% increase in May sales, down from about 25% in the prior month.
Hong Kong-shares of Dongfeng Motor Group slipped 0.5% after the Chinese carmaker's May sales declined 11%.
Meanwhile, India's BSE Sensex, hovering near record highs, closed 1.4% lower. Earlier in the day, the country's rate-setting panel cut the key policy rate by 25 basis points as expected. The Monetary Policy Committee also changed its stance to "accommodative" from "neutral," indicating more easing may be on the way.
GAIL (India) slumped 11.8%. The tariff increase for one of the company's pipeline network approved by the industry regulator was less than the quantum expected by at least two analysts.