November 25, 2018: Most Asian markets rose Monday as investors tentatively pick up cheap stocks, with focus on an expected meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping at the weekend that will be watched for signs of a softening in the China-US trade war.
The broad gains came despite more hefty selling in energy firms after another collapse in oil prices on Friday, while the pound was flat against the dollar after European Union leaders approved a Brexit deal but which must be cleared by British MPs who mostly oppose it.
The positive mood comes at the start of a key week that sees a speech by Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell and the release of the bank's last policy meeting minutes, before culminating in the G20 in Buenos Aires.
While the summit will focus on several global issues, the meeting between Trump and Xi will get the most attention with the economic superpowers engaged in a trade war just as global growth starts to stutter.
But expectations for a deal to end the standoff are low.
“It would seem that President Xi and President Trump have every incentive to come to an agreement on trade issues, even if that agreement does not significantly change the status quo,” said JP Morgan Asset Management chief global strategist David Kelly.
“However, perceptions are important on both sides. While some hold out the hope that an agreement in principle will be reached, it seems more likely that an agreement will have to wait for more posturing on both sides.”
Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trade at OANDA, called the meeting “possibly the best and last opportunity for the two leaders to share middle ground”.
“The big question is are we going to see Trump the 'deal maker' or Trump the 'trade warrior' who wants China to 'feel more pain'? Keeping in mind that betting against the latter has been a poor bet for traders this year.”