US tariffs: Asian shares plummet as China signals retaliation – live

European markets set to dive on the opening bell on Friday after huge sell-off overnight in Asia, where US-China tit-for-tat will be most felt. Follow all the action here

Nikkei down 4% as investors fear damaging confrontation
Trump imposes tariffs on China
Australia fears swift end to tariff exemption

Masses of reaction from traders so let’s try to roundup some of their comments.

Masafumi Yamamoto, chief forex strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo, sounded a slightly optimistic tone to Reuters by saying that US tariffs might not be quite as bad they appear. But then he essentially says it might get worse before it gets better:

In the longer run, protectionist policies touted by the United States could be watered down, in turn limiting the negative effect on trade and the global economy. But until the United States makes such concessions, global stocks will be under pressure and the yen will appreciate, especially if China decides to confront the U.S. measures.

Beijing is extending an olive branch and urging the U.S. to resolve trade disputes through dialogue rather than tariffs. Nevertheless, the first volley of shots and retaliatory response has been set off.

It’s a significant step in escalation in trade tensions between the US and China. The biggest watchpoint from here is how China responds to this and any potential escalation that creates going forward.

The Australian benchmark index, the ASX200, has closed down almost 2%. The big miners, such as BHP Biliton and Rio Tinto, were among the biggest losers amid concern that demand for the counmtry’s biggest export – iron ore– will be hurt by the tariffs.

Australia’s #ASX200 ends off session lows, but only just… down close to 2% on concerns about a global trade war #ausbiz #stocks #selloff #markets

BOOM! #Nikkei down 4.5% as trade tensions rise quickly. #China #Trump #Tariffs

Australia fears it could be hit by steel tariffs after it emerged that an exemption promised by Donald Trump would run on 1 May.

Related: Australia’s exemption from Trump steel tariff is temporary, with quotas to come

Related: Trump reveals $60bn of fresh tariffs on China as EU wins reprieve

Good afternoon/good morning and welcome to our business live blog on a tumultuous day for the world economy.

China has wasted no time in signalling that it will retaliate against Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminium imports. Beijing’s swift response was expected and, although Asian stock markets have been battered in the wake of Trump’s move, it left some room for negotiation with a plea for the US to “pull back from the brink”.

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