June 19, 2018 / 1:56 AM / 5 months ago

China stocks open sharply lower amid escalating trade tensions

SHANGHAI, June 19 (Reuters) - China stocks opened sharply lower on Tuesday, with the Shanghai benchmark falling below the psychologically key 3,000 points for the first time in nearly 21 months, as mainland investors had their first chance to react to escalating Sino-U.S trade tensions.

Investors back from Monday’s Dragon Boat Festival holiday dumped stocks, amid signs Washington and Beijing are on the brink of a trade war.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he was pushing ahead with a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese products, prompting Beijing to respond in kind.

On Monday, Trump threatened to impose a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods, escalating a tit-for-tat trade war with Beijing.

The CSI300 index fell 1.2 percent to 3,707.23 points at 1:45 GMT, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.4 percent to 2,981.15 points.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was down 1.3 percent, to 29,906.79 points.

Chinese treasury futures were unperturbed by the latest tariff announcement, with 10-year treasury futures for September delivery, the most traded contact, up 0.07 percent at 95.145 on Tuesday morning.

Samuel Shen and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Sam Holmes

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