Asia stocks were set to trade lower at the open on Wednesday as U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to raise tariffs on Chinese goods if the two economic powerhouses do not strike a deal.
Futures pointed to a lower open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 23,200 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 23,260. That compared against the Nikkei 225's last close at 23,292.65. Japanese merchandise trade data for October is expected around 7:50 a.m. HK/SIN.
Meanwhile, shares in Australia declined in early trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 slipping 0.86%.
Markets have been on edge for much of the trading week as investors seek clarity on the state of U.S.-China trade negotiations as a Dec. 15 deadline approaches. A tariff hike on Chinese imports to the U.S. is set to kick in on that date.
Trump said Tuesday he would "just raise the tariffs even higher" on Chinese goods if a deal between Washington and Beijing is not reached. CNBC reported earlier in the week, citing a government source, that China is pessimistic about the trade deal. That is reportedly due to differing views on the cancellation of tariffs.
The developments came following a recent wave of optimism after Trump said a "phase one" trade deal would get signed sometime in November.
Investors will also watch the release of the People's Bank of China's new loan prime rates, expected around 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN.
Overnight stateside, stocks on Wall Street had a mixed session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell from record highs, declining 102.2 points to close at 27,934.02. The S&P 500 finished the trading session marginally lower at 3,120.18. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.2% to close at 8,570.66, posting a fresh all-time closing high.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.824 after earlier dipping to levels below 97.8.
The Japanese yen traded at 108.42 per dollar after touching lows around 108.8 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.682 after rising from levels around $0.679.
What's on tap:
- Japan: Merchandise trade data for October at 7:50 a.m. HK/SIN
- China: People's Bank of China publishes new loan prime rates at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN
— CNBC's Fred Imbert contributed to this report.