Hong Kong, May 20: Most Asian markets rose Monday after Donald Trump showed signs of conciliation in his trade wars but investors remain on edge over the China-US standoff with some concerns that talks between the two have stalled.
Sydney led gainers and the Australian dollar rallied after a shock win for the business-friendly conservatives, while Japanese dealers were cheered by forecast-beating economic growth data.
However, the pound is wallowing around four-month lows on growing fears Britain will leave the European Union without a divorce deal.
Global markets have been in turmoil for two weeks since Trump threatened — and later delivered — a hike in tariffs on Chinese imports, to which Beijing retaliated and relit their debilitating trade battle.
The move also threw a spanner in the works for long-running negotiations between the economic superpowers that were thought to have been close to conclusion.
That was compounded by Trump's decision to bar Chinese telecoms firms from the US market and added Huawei to a blacklist restricting US sales to the firm.
But there was a sliver of hope after Trump on Friday removed steel tariffs on Canada and Mexico and announced a six-month delay in imposing steep tariffs on auto imports as he seeks talks with Japan and the EU on the issue.
Most equity markets were in positive territory, with Sydney more than one percent higher following the surprise victory of Prime Minister Scott Morrison's Liberal-National coalition in weekend elections. The Aussie dollar also enjoyed support, climbing 0.7 percent against the greenback.
Tokyo ended the morning 0.3 percent higher, with traders taking heart from news that the Japanese economy expanded more than expected in the first quarter and improved slightly from the previous three months.
Seoul gained 0.6 percent, Wellington added 0.3 percent and Taipei was 0.4 percent higher.
However, Hong Kong shed 0.6 percent and Shanghai was off 0.8 percent, with Jakarta and Manila also down.