Asian markets edge higher at end of painful week

9 December, 2018 12:00 AM printer

HONG KONG: Asian investors battled to finish a volatile week with some stability Friday as they weigh the outlook for China-US trade talks and uncertainty in oil markets, while looking ahead to the release of key US jobs data.

After the furious selling of the past two days, there was some optimism after a report said the Federal Reserve could slow down its pace of interest rate hikes next year, providing some much-needed relief to under-pressure dealers, reports AFP.

The general mood across trading floors is of unease, just days after the euphoria of Donald Trump's tariffs ceasefire deal with China's Xi Jinping at the G20 that put the row off for 90 days while they try to resolve the crisis.

No sooner had the rally from that announcement run its course than questions began to be raised about the details and whether the world's top two economies could actually resolve their differences.

That was compounded by news that a top executive at Chinese telecoms giant Huawei had been arrested in Canada and faces extradition to the US over allegations the firm had broken sanctions linked to Iran.

The apprehension of Meng Wanzhou fuelled concerns about already fraught relations between Washington and Beijing and the future of the trade talks.

China on Thursday appeared to try to ease concerns by saying it would "immediately" implement measures agreed under the truce, while Trump later sent a tweet highlighting progress.

"Statement from China: 'The teams of both sides are now having smooth communications and good cooperation with each other. We are full of confidence that an agreement can be reached within the next 90 days.' I agree!" he wrote.

Tokyo closed 0.8 percent higher, while Shanghai ended flat. Sydney edged up 0.4 percent, Seoul gained 0.3 percent, while Wellington, Jakarta and Taipei were also higher. Singapore was flat.

But Hong Kong ended down 0.4 percent after a late sell-off.

In early European trade London rose 0.8 percent, a day after suffering its worst session since the day after Britain voted to leave the EU. Paris added 0.8 percent and Frankfurt climbed 0.6 percent.