Asian markets mostly up at start of week on trade talks hopes

Asian and European markets mostly rose on Monday as investors grow hopeful that China and the United States will resolve their trade dispute.

Wall Street ended last week with gains following a report that top officials from the world's top two economies would hold talks to resolve a crisis that has seen them hit each other with tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of goods, with more in the pipeline.

 The report in the Wall Street Journal said the talks were aimed at easing the trade dispute before President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping hold a summit in November.

The possibility that the months-long row which has battered world markets could be brought to an end was enough to spur optimism on trading floors.

Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader, pointed out that Beijing, which is struggling to support the economy while also addressing a debt mountain, may have had a “lightbulb moment” last week with the release of more weak data and a sharp drop in the troubled yuan.

Authorities in China appeared to be moving to support the yuan last week as it headed towards seven to the dollar, its weakest level since January 2017.

Some observers have suggested the central bank has been letting the yuan soften in recent weeks to offset the effects of any US tariffs, a claim China has denied.


Winning again   

“President Trump is winning again,” he said. “That's the takeaway he's likely to get from news that China's resolve may be cracking and the trade delegation being sent to Washington is not as low-level as many thought.”

Hong Kong rose 1.3 percent in the afternoon session and Shanghai closed up 1.1 percent, while Sydney and Singapore each climbed 0.1 percent and Seoul ended with marginal gains.

Jakarta soared 1.8 percent, while Wellington and Taipei also posted gains.

Tokyo pared early losses to end 0.3 percent lower.

In early European trade London rose 0.1 percent, Paris added 0.2 percent and Frankfurt gained 0.4 percent.

On currency markets the Turkish lira was hovering above six to the dollar, well off the record levels around seven seen last week but still under pressure after Ankara and Washington traded fresh sanctions threats as the row over a jailed American pastor drags on.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor's on Friday downgraded Turkey's sovereign debt for the second time in four months and warned of a recession in 2019.

“The worry over Turkey's currency crisis eased slightly last week as the lira rebounded against the US dollar. But this isn't the end of the problem,” said Masayuki Kubota, chief strategist at Rakuten Securities.

Attention now turns to this week's annual central bankers' symposium at Jackson Hole in Wyoming, which will be followed for clues on US interest rate plans among other issues.


Key figures around 0720 GMT

                  Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 percent at 22,199.00 (close)

                  Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 1.3 percent at 27,555.32

                  Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.1 percent at 2,698.47 (close)

                  London – FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,568.89

                  Dollar/yen: DOWN at 110.55 from 110.57 yen at 2100 GMT Friday

                  Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1423 from $1.1441

                  Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2744 from $1.2749

                  Dollar/Turkish lira: UP at 6.06 lira from 6.03 lira

                  Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN four cents at $65.87 per barrel

                  Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN two cents at $71.81 per barrel

                  New York – Dow Jones: UP 0.4 percent at 25,669.32 (close)


Posted on: 2018-08-20T16:39:00+05:00