Asian shares rise ahead of US-China ‘Phase 1’ trade deal

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares mostly followed Wall Street higher yesterday amid optimism that a trade deal between the United States (US) and China will be a boon for the regional economy.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.7 per cent to finish at 24,025.17, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.9 per cent to 6,962.20. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.4 per cent to 2,238.88. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.2 per cent to 28,885.14, while the Shanghai Composite declined 0.3 per cent to 3,106.82. Shares rose in Southeast Asia.

Monday’s rally on Wall Street added to gains from last week driven by an easing of tension between the US and Iran. Investors are now looking ahead to the signing of an initial trade deal between Washington and Beijing and the potential for future talks.

The world’s largest economies are expected to sign a so-called ‘Phase 1’ trade agreement today. It is seen as an opening to future negotiations that will deal with more complicated trade issues.

Investors’ “unquenchable appetite for stocks is in hyperdrive” thanks to the thawing tensions between the US and both China and Iran, Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at AxiTrader, said in a report.

Across markets, worries about a recession have faded since last year as central banks cut interest rates and pumped stimulus into the global economy. In addition, the promise of the trade deal between the US and China has helped lift markets in recent weeks, easing investors’ concerns of further escalation in the costly conflict.

Full details of the pact are due to be released after the agreement is signed at the White House.

Wall Street will be releasing earnings reports later in the week and also have several economic reports to consider, including government reports on consumer prices, retails sales and home construction.

ENERGY

Benchmark crude oil fell USD0.19 to USD57.89 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell USD 0.96 to USD58.08 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, lost USD0.10 to USD64.10 a barrel.

CURRENCIES

The dollar rose to JPY11,009.98 from JPY109.93 on Monday. The euro slipped to USD1.1132 from USD1.1135.

A man walks past a securities firm in Tokyo. PHOTO: AP