Asian shares struggled to find direction on Thursday afternoon as traders tried to make sense of the trade negotiations and the proposed U.S. tariffs that are concerning global leaders, business owners and investors. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was up 0.10 percent as of 2:16 p.m. HK/SIN after recovering from losses earlier in the session, and South Korea’s Kospi, was 0.39 percent higher. Most other Asian indexes were lower, with the Shanghai Composite leading the losses with a 0.39 percent decline. The losses came on the heels of declines on Wall Street on Wednesday, which was the third consecutive session of losses.
On Wednesday the White House announced that U.S. President Donald Trump wanted China to reduce its trade surplus with the United States by $100 billion, not the $1 billion that Trump had announced on Twitter last week. The dollar was broadly lower on the news, despite the fact that Larry Kudlow, Trump’s new economic advisor noted that “a great country need[s] a strong currency.” The greenback was lower against the yen, down 0.29 percent to 106.01 as traders flocked to the safe haven currency. The dollar also eased against the euro, to trade at $1.2373. The dollar index was down 0.10 percent to 89.70 .DXY. Gold was also higher, acting as a safe haven for investors, trading up 0.03 percent to $1,326.10 per ounce.