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US-North Korea war of words shakes Asia Pacific markets

Markets in Asia were reeling from the latest bellicose rhetoric out of Pyongyang and Washington, with havens gaining and equities across the region mixed as oil prices slipped further.

The yen gained as much as half a per cent on the dollar to ¥109.82, where it continued to hover below the ¥110 mark for the first time since Friday.

That sent stocks in Tokyo lower. The broad Topix index dropped as much as 1.4 per cent, with losses of around 1 per cent or more across all sectors. Information technology, industrials and telecoms stocks were among the worst performers.

Sovereign bonds were mostly gaining amid the tumult. Yield, which moves inversely to price, on 10-year US Treasuries was down 1 basis point at 2.248 per cent. That on the equivalent Japanese note was down 1bp at 0.053.

The 10-year South Korean government bond saw yield rise 3 bp to 2.321 per cent, however, as the won shed 0.9 per cent against the greenback to Won1,134.63 per dollar, near a four-week low. South Korean equities were also faring badly as Seoul’s Kospi index dropped as much as 1 per cent.

Gold was benefiting from investor unease in the region, up 0.3 per cent at $1,264.94 per ounce.

Oil was also faring badly in the Asia morning session as Brent crude, the global benchmark, sank 0.5 per cent and back below the $52 mark to $51.87 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the US marker, was down 0.4 per cent at $48.96, back below the $49 level.

Wall Street also closed lower on Tuesday, with stocks reversing gains following Mr Trump’s remarks.