Asian markets enjoy gains

22 September, 2019 12:00 AM printer

HONG KONG: Asian markets edged up Friday as investors turn their attention to the China-US trade talks, while keeping an eye on the Gulf region after last week’s air strikes on Saudi oil facilities fanned geopolitical tensions.

With a delegation from China in the US to prepare for higher-level negotiations next month, there are hopes the economic powerhouses can find a solution to their tariffs row that has dragged on the global economy for a year, reports AFP.

Stock markets have enjoyed a broadly positive September thanks to hopes for the talks, with both sides appearing to offer olive branches and sounding less confrontational than they did in July and August.

A shift by central banks to easier monetary policies — or a desire to do so — is providing some much-needed support to equities, though there was some disappointment in the Federal Reserve’s lack of forward guidance this week for further interest rate cuts.

Still, there is an expectation that more measures were likely on the way, with Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones, telling Bloomberg TV: “There’s a lot more monetary stimulus coming into the system.”

Hong Kong was down 0.1 percent marking a fifth straight loss, with investors on alert for further protests in the city following clashes between pro-democracy demonstrators and police last weekend. Shanghai ended up 0.2 percent and Tokyo closed 0.2 percent higher.

Mumbai soared more than five percent after the government said it would slash corporate taxes from 30 percent to 22 percent in an effort to boost the sagging economy.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the new rates would be “comparable with the lowest tax rates in South Asian region and in Southeast Asia”.