Asian shares surge as Trump boosts trade deal hopes

14 February, 2019 12:00 AM printer

HONG KONG: Asian stocks surged Wednesday as President Donald Trump said he may extend his trade deal deadline with Beijing and a report claimed China’s Xi Jinping would meet top US officials, seeming to boost the prospects of an agreement.

High-level talks are due to begin in the Chinese capital Thursday aimed at an accord to stop sharp US tariff hikes that could damage the global economy, reports AFP.

Trump said he could let his March 1 deadline for the tariffs “slide for a little while” if the two sides were close to a meaningful deal, adding that he expects a summit with President Xi “at some point”.

Later, a report in the South China Morning Post said Xi would personally meet the US delegation in Beijing, suggesting a redoubled effort to make progress on a deal.

Washington is demanding changes from Beijing on what it says are unfair commercial practices. A resolution would prevent US tariffs more than doubling on $200 billion in Chinese imports next month.

Tokyo added a further 1.3 percent after Tuesday’s gains to finish at a two-month high.

Hong Kong rose 1.2 percent, and Shanghai earned 1.8 percent on the news, following Wall Street’s lead.

European stocks also climbed at the open, with London up 0.3 percent, Paris 0.3 percent and Frankfurt 0.4 percent.

However, some analysts struck a cautious tone, noting that much work needs to be completed before a framework agreement is in reach.

“The rally in stocks has been based on hope rather than any concrete agreements overnight,” warned Oanda senior analyst Jeffrey Halley, predicting short-term volatility to come as headlines emerge from Beijing.

Elsewhere Sydney shed 0.3 percent, with calls for a snap election amid political tensions over refugees adding to underwhelming corporate earnings and subdued metal prices.