Asian stocks rally on hope of further China-US trade talks

|    Annabelle Liang    |

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian markets were broadly higher on Monday as traders looked forward to the continuation of trade talks between Chinese and American officials in Washington this week.

South Korea’s Kospi jumped 0.7 per cent to 2,212.38 and the Shanghai Composite index rose 1.6 per cent to 2,724.23. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 1.7 per cent higher at 28,359.81. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.4 per cent to 6,089.90.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 advanced 1.8 per cent to 21,273.16. The country said its core machinery orders dropped 0.1 per cent in December from the previous month, beating forecasts of a 1.1 per cent decline. Shares rose in Taiwan and throughout Southeast Asia.

After the markets closed on Friday, China and the United States (US) announced plans to resume trade negotiations in Washington, fuelling hopes that both countries were edging toward a deal.

“We feel we have made headway on very, very important and difficult issues,” US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said, in a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Currency traders work at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. – AP

Xi expressed hope for “a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement”, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Negotiators had just wrapped up two days of talks in Beijing. Investors were worried about progress on thorny issues like Washington’s unhappiness over Chinese technology and trade policies.

A tariffs truce expires March 2 and will leave the US free to more than double import taxes on USD200 billion in Chinese goods. President Donald Trump has said he may hold off on these if the country was close to a deal with China.

WALL STREET: Optimism surrounding US-China trade talks boosted indexes on Friday. The broad S&P 500 index rebounded 1.1 per cent to 2,775.60. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.7 per cent to 25,883.25 and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.6 per cent at 7,472.41. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gained 1.6 per cent to 1,569.25.

ENERGY: US crude added 28 cents to USD55.87 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It added USD1.18 to settle at USD55.59 per barrel in New York on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed two cents to USD66.23 per barrel. It picked up USD1.68 to USD66.25 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 110.53 yen from 110.48 yen late on Friday. The euro rose to USD1.1317 from USD1.1293.