April 3, 2019: Asian markets enjoyed another rally Wednesday as a report said China and the US were closing in on a deal to end their long-running trade row.
The pound held gains after British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would look for another Brexit delay and softened her position on the issue to avert a calamitous no-deal divorce from the European Union.
While Wall Street provided a flat lead, Asian investors built on recent gains, with optimism given an extra boost by a report in the Financial Times saying Beijing and Washington were on course for a historic agreement.
Expectations that the world's top two economies will eventually sign a deal has been a key driver of a global equities rally this year and the FT article adds to the general sense of hope.
It comes after better-than-expected factory data out of China and the US that eased worries about growth in the global economy, while a dovish turn from central banks has also provided support.
“Recent positives such as the US Federal Reserve pausing their interest rate increases, incremental signs of progress on China-US trade negotiations and a dovish bias from China's (central bank) to support growth have given investors a sunnier attitude about risk assets,” Tai Hui, chief market strategist for Asia Pacific at JP Morgan Asset Management, said.
In early trade, Hong Kong was up one percent — having risen for six straight days — Shanghai added 0.3 percent and Tokyo went into the break 0.8 percent higher.
Sydney and Singapore each gained 0.7 percent, while Seoul rose 0.5 percent. Taipei and Manila were each slightly higher.