Asian markets rally as Trump signals trade talks optimism

16th March, 2019 09:23:36 printer

HONG KONG: Asian markets rose Friday as Donald Trump struck an upbeat note on trade talks with China, while the pound held steady after British MPs voted to delay Brexit.

While there remain some concerns about the global outlook, investor confidence has been supported by ongoing optimism that the world’s two biggest economies will eventually hammer out a deal to end their long-running trade row, reports AFP.

The US president provided fresh cheer Thursday by telling reporters “we are doing very well with China talks”, adding that “we are getting what we have to get”.

He also said “one way or the other, we’re going to know over the next three to four weeks”.

His comments came as Chinese state media said phone talks had been held between Beijing’s top negotiator Vice Premier Liu He, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Mnuchin said earlier Thursday he expects the deal to be finalised soon, but cautioned that the process is complex.

Trump had said he expected to hold a meeting in Florida with his counterpart Xi Jinping later this month but Bloomberg said that the “signing summit” had been pushed back a month as negotiators struggled to resolve their differences.

On Friday, China approved a foreign investment law that will abolish the forced transfer of technology from foreign firms to local joint-venture partners, addressing a key point of anger in the White House.

And at the end of the annual session of the rubber-stamp National People’s Congress, Premier Li Keqiang promised not to let the world’s second-largest economy “slip out of a reasonable range” and pledging support such as interest rate cuts.

The developments lifted regional equities. Tokyo ended 0.8 percent higher, while Shanghai gained one percent and Hong Kong jumped 0.6 percent.

Singapore put on 0.1 percent and Seoul climbed one percent and Taipei was up 0.9 percent with Wellington, Mumbai and Jakarta also up. However, Sydney ended marginally lower.