China's exports losing steam amid Trump's trade war

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At the interview, the President said the U.S. is also making progress with Canada to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) as negotiators stepped up the pace of discussions to meet yesterday's deadline to reach an agreement.

The White House announced the cancelation late on Friday, saying that Vice-President Pence will travel in the president's stead. The potential move was reported by Bloomberg on Thursday. Talks aimed at easing trade tensions ended last week without major breakthroughs.

Emerging market currencies had less luck, with currencies relying on foreign capital to finance their current account deficit hit the hardest.

Earlier in Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.7 percent, set for a monthly drop of 1.5 percent.

The single currency was down 0.1 percent at $1.1662 after losing about 0.3 percent overnight when a rise in Italian government bond yields put additional pressure on the currency.

Yuanta Investment Consulting Co (元大投顧) senior vice president Katie Du (杜富蓉) attributed the fall in local equities to US-China trade friction; rising trade disputes between the US and the European Union; and heavy currency devaluations in the emerging economies of Turkey and Argentina. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 1.1 percent at 27,858.64, while the Shanghai Composite index fell 0.5 percent to 2,725.25. In early European trade London and Paris each fell 0.3 percent, while Frankfurt was 0.6 percent off.

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The Turkish lira, which has been hit by concerns over President Tayyip Erdogan's influence over monetary policy and diplomatic spats with Washington, also slipped towards record lows marked about two weeks ago.

It was rattled on Thursday by reports its central bank deputy governor was leaving the bank.

In Asia, the Indonesian rupiah IDR= fell to a almost three-year low and approached levels not seen since the 1990s Asian financial crisis even as the country's central bank said it was "decisively" intervening to support the currency.

Broadening the tariff battle would mark the most significant move yet in a months-long trade standoff and dent China's growth prospects.

Emerging market currencies sank in Asia on Friday, with the Indian rupee at a record low as dealers fear contagion from financial crises in Argentina and Turkey.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 1 cent to $70.24 a barrel.

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