Fears of an international trade war heightened on Monday morning, as Donald Trump vowed to respond to Beijing’s plans to clamp down on Hong Kong following an uprising there. Concerns about an increase in the rate of new coronavirus infections in Hong Kong have also worried markets. The US also made it harder for Chinese firms to list shares on the stock exchange, which is impacting global markets. The FTSE-100 fell 112 points to 5,903.05, extending its recent poor showing.
James Hughes of Scope Markets said: “Washington has continually blamed China for the Coronavirus pandemic, and last week blocked any chip supplies from the US to Chinese tech giant Huawei as well as passed legislation to make it harder for any Chinese firms to list shares on exchanges in the US.”
He added: “It was yet another sign that the US will continue to ramp up its overall offensive on China.”
Beijing also said it would not be setting a GDP growth target for the first time in 30 years, due to the unprecedented economic decline caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
In the UK, Asia-focused Prudential fell 5.8 percent amid worries over the health of the world’s second-largest economy.
The miners, led by Anglo American also plunged 5.2 percent in response to the news from China.
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FTSE 100 LIVE: The UK Government borrowed £62billion in April
5.30pm update: FTSE 100 company Vodafone appoints new chairman
Telecoms giant Vodafone has announced Jean-Francois Van Boxmeer, current chief executive of Heineken, will become its new chairman later this year.
He will join the board this summer and replace outgoing chairman Gerard Kleisterlee in November, who will leave after nine years in the position.
Mr Van Boxmeer had been chief executive of Dutch-listed brewer Heineken since 2005.
4.30pm update: FTSE 100 finishes day in the red
The FTSE 100 has finished the trading week in the red after showing signs of encouragement earlier in the week.
London’s stock index has falled 0.27 percent to 5,998.80 at the close of trading.
3.20pm update: Wall Street on the back foot after opening
US stock indexes have dipped as increasing tensions between Washington and Beijing weighed heavily on markets struggling to predict the pace of economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
At 2.56pm, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had fallen 0.35 percent to 24,387.91, the S&P 500 decreased 0.15 percent to 2,944.17, but the Nasdaq Composite was up slightly by 0.09 percent at 9,293.39.
Andrea Cicione, head of strategy at TS Lombard in London said: “Sentiment is really vulnerable to expensive valuation at the moment.
“After the shock of the COVID-19 lockdown, we have to go through a regular recession with high unemployment, low capex, low demand and that’s not what’s priced in at the moment.”
Paul Withers taking over live reporting from Emily Ferguson.
2.35pm update: Wetherspoons releases guidance on reopening its pubs
Wetherspoons has issued some detailed guidance on how it plans to reopen its pubs.
Changes include protective screens at the till and in seating areas where it is not possible to separate the tables in accordance with social distancing measures.
The pub chain will also provide gloves, masks and protective eyewear for employees, though it will not be mandatory to wear them unless it is required by the Government.
Pubs will also have a one way system with a separate exit and entrance door where possible.
Customers will be asked to order via the app of pay using contactless cards wherever possible.
2pm update: FTSE 100 continues to make slight gains
The FTSE-100 index at 1:45pm was down 21.99 at 5993.26.
1pm update: FTSE 100 update
The FTSE-100 index at 12:45pm was down 33.02 at 5982.23
12.15am update: Government extends mortgage holiday scheme
The UK Government has announced it is extending the mortgage repayment holiday scheme by three months.
The scheme was announced in March to help home-owners struggling to make monthly mortgage payments due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Retail sales dropped a whopping 18.1 percent in April
12pm update: FTSE 100 rallies slightly
The FTSE-100 index at 11:45am was down 56.10 at 5959.15.
11am update: FTSE 100 update
The FTSE-100 index at 10:45am was down 77.20 at 5938.05.
10.33am update: FTSE 100 lags behind Europe
European shares fell on Friday as a deterioration in US-China ties compounded fears of a slower recovery from the economic damage wreaked by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 1.4 percent, with Asia-exposed stocks such as HSBC Holdings Plc tumbling five percent and Prudential Plc sliding 8.3 percent.
UK’s FTSE 100 lagged its European peers with a 1.8 percent drop.
9.45am update: FTSE 100 update
The FTSE-100 index at 9:45am was down 89.10 at 5926.15.
8.50am update: FTSE 100 update
The FTSE-100 index at 8:15am was down 111.47 at 5903.78.
8.21am update: Retail sales collapse by 18.1% in April
Retail sales dropped a whopping 18.1 percent in April, marking yet another record decline for the sector – who had already seen a huge drop in sales the month before.
The main area hit was clothing, according to the Office for National Statistics, which has taken a 50.2 percent hit.
Coronavirus impact on fuel prices
8.10am update: Government’s deficit rose by £62billion last month
The Government borrowed a record amount last month, adding £62.1billion to the country’s budget deficit.
This figure almost matched the amount borrowed in the whole of the 2019/20 financial year, which totalled £62.7billion.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Government borrowing was £51.1billion higher in April than the same month last year.
The amount borrowed by the Government is significantly higher than first forecast, with most economists predicting £30.7billion for the month.
7.50am update: FTSE 100 opens
The FTSE-100 index at 7:44am was unchanged at 6015.25.
7.10am update: Dollar edges up on Friday
The dollar gained against major peers on Friday as worries about rising diplomatic tensions between the United States and China supported safe-haven demand for the greenback.
The dollar rose 0.24 percent to $1.0925 per euro on Friday, following a 0.3 precent increase in the previous session.
The dollar bought 0.9715 Swiss franc after posting its biggest gain in more than two weeks on Thursday.
Sterling held steady at $1.2216 before data later on Friday expected to show a plunge in British retail sales.
6.16am update: Hong Kong leads Asian shares lower as Beijing readies new security law
Hong Kong shares tumbled on Friday after Beijing moved to impose a new security law on the city after last year’s pro-democracy unrest, risking fresh protests and further straining fast-deteriorating US-China ties.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 3.7 percent to a seven-week low, helping to pull down MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS 1.2 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei slipped 0.25 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.7 percent.
China is set to impose new national security legislation on Hong Kong, a Chinese official said on Thursday.
The decision drew a warning from President Donald Trump that Washington would react “very strongly” against the attempt to gain more control over the former British colony.