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China-US trade worries weigh on stock markets again

South Korea Financial Markets

LONDON (AP) – Global stock markets remained under pressure Thursday after China’s Commerce Ministry said Beijing would retaliate if the U.S. follows through with a plan to raise tariffs on Chinese imports.

Following earlier widespread losses in Asia, Europe’s main markets were all in the red. Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.3% to 7,253 while Germany’s DAX declined 0.7% to 12,097. France’s CAC 40 was 1.1% lower at 5,355. U.S. stocks were poised for falls at the bell too, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.6%.

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The negative tone that has gripped markets this week was triggered by a threat from President Donald Trump to go ahead with plans to impose more tariffs on Chinese goods this Friday.

The U.S. government has filed plans to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25%. The Trump administration has also threatened to extend 25% tariffs to another $325 billion in Chinese imports, covering everything China ships to the United States.

On Thursday, Beijing said it will impose “necessary countermeasures” if the increases take effect as planned, the ministry said. It gave no details but a ministry spokesman said Beijing has made “all necessary preparations,” suggesting it might be bracing for worsening conflict.

Such moves would mark a sharp escalation in the trade dispute that has raised prices on goods for consumers and companies.

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