Singapore: Asian share markets and U.S. stock futures fell on Monday after President Donald Trump introduced immigration curbs that sparked criticism at home and abroad, adding to fears that his ‘America First’ policy may prove destabilising for the rest of the world.
Trump on Friday put a 120-day hold on allowing refugees into the country, an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria and a 90-day bar on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The executive order led to the detention and deportation of hundreds of people arriving at U.S. airports, huge protests in many U.S. cities and a raft of legal challenges amid confusion over its implementation.
Trump defended the move as vital for U.S. security, but his critics have said his action violated U.S. law and the Constitution.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.4 percent in holiday thinned trade.
Australian shares tumbled more than 1 percent, while New Zealand pulled back 0.6 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei widened losses to 0.7 percent as demand for the safe-haven yen weighed on exporters.
Pointing to a weaker opening on Wall Street, S&P e-mini futures, Dow futures and Nasdaq futures all fell around 0.3 percent.
“Trump always stated these were policies he would implement. Quite a lot of it was brushed off as ‘campaign rhetoric’ but he is following through,” said James Woods, global investment analyst at Rivkin Securities in Sydney.
“This renews concerns about a trade war with China that would significantly affect both Asian and the global economy,” Woods said.
“The biggest threat to markets at the moment is if Trump continues down the path of protectionism without focusing on economic policies.”
Several countries including long-standing American allies criticized Trump’s directive as discriminatory and divisive, and tens of thousands of people rallied in U.S. cities and at airports on Sundays to express their outrage.
U.S. judges in at least five states blocked federal authorities from enforcing Trump’s executive order, but lawyers representing people affected said some authorities were unwilling on Sunday to follow the judges’ rulings.