June 25, 2019: Asian equities were mixed Tuesday as investors sat on their hands days before this week's crucial meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, while gold hit a fresh six-year high on a weaker dollar and the US-Iran crisis.
While the stand-off between Washington and Tehran is fuelling concerns of a conflict between the old foes, the main focus for investors is the tete-a-tete between the leaders of the world's two biggest economies in Osaka.
World markets have rallied since the US president last week flagged positive phone talks with Xi and said they would discuss their trade spat on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
On Tuesday Chinese state media said top-level negotiators for both sides had held discussions ahead of the meeting, and “exchanged opinions on economic and trade issues”. The call took place “at the request of the US side” and they agreed to maintain contact, the Xinhua news agency said.
“The G20 will not get going until midweek, but the anticipation of a meeting between the leaders of China and the US is keeping markets guessing,” said OANDA senior market analyst Alfonso Esparza.
“The prolonged trade war between the two largest economies has downgraded global growth as more barriers to trade means higher prices. Optimism remains high, but more details need to emerge before the market can fully price in how far apart the two sides really are from a deal.”
In early trade Hong Kong and Shanghai each dropped 0.7 percent after a recent healthy run-up, while Tokyo finished the morning 0.2 percent lower. Taipei was also down.
However, Sydney and Singapore were both 0.1 percent higher while Seoul and Wellington added 0.2 percent apiece. Manila and Jakarta were also up.