Asian markets rally on growing trade deal hopes
AFP – Asian markets rallied with oil and high-yielding currencies Monday as investors grow increasingly confident that China and the United States will eventually hammer out a deal to end their long-running trade war.
While talks ended Friday in Beijing with no deal, negotiators shift to Washington this week with Donald Trump saying discussions were going "extremely well" and suggesting he could extend a March 1 truce deadline for an agreement to be reached.
The high-level discussions between the economic superpowers are expected to yield a memorandum of understanding ahead of a meeting between Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to finalise a pact.
The upbeat mood in Asia follows a strong lead from Wall Street, while a bipartisan deal to avert another US government shutdown and the Federal Reserve’s recent dovish tone on interest rates have also provided support.
The positive news comes at a crucial time as China’s economy stutters and the global outlook looks less certain, with the US also showing signs of slowing.
"With a weakening US economy, the motivation for both sides to get something agreed in the short term is quite high as they still debate the more structural issues that lurk in the background," Sunny Bangia, a global equities fund manager at Antipodes Partners, told Bloomberg TV.
Tokyo ended the morning session 1.8 percent higher, while Hong Kong added 1.7 percent and Shanghai rose 1.6 percent as data at the weekend showed a surge in new Chinese loans, indicating moves to kickstart growth.
Sydney put on 0.4 percent, Singapore and Seoul each gained 0.9 percent, Taipei jumped one percent and Wellington edged 0.2 percent higher.
Manila and Jakarta piled on more than one percent apiece.
The prospect of an end to the near year-long US-China trade row has also provided a lift to regional currencies against the dollar with investors moving into higher-risk units.
Indonesia’s rupiah, the South Korean won and the Australian dollar were among the biggest gainers.
Oil extended last week’s sharp gains on signs that OPEC members and other major producers led by Russia are cutting output.
Both main contracts were higher Monday, with Brent having surged 6.7 percent last week and WTI soaring 5.4 percent.
Positive signs from the US-China trade negotiations "gave oil a double boost as it also softened the US dollar as it reduced its appeal as a safe haven", said Alfonso Esparza, senior market analyst at OANDA.
– Key figures around 0230 GMT –
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.8 percent at 21,273.16 (break)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 1.7 percent at 28,368.02
Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.6 percent at 2,723.08
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1308 from $1.1293 at 2140 GMT on Monday
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2909 from $1.2889
Dollar/yen: UP at 110.54 yen from 110.43 yen
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 25 cents at $55.84 per barrel
Oil – Brent Crude: UP 10 cents at $66.35 per barrel
New York – Dow: UP 1.7 percent at 25,883.25 (close)
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.6 percent at 7,236.68 (close)