Asian markets as investors remain buoyed by trade hopes

20 November, 2019 12:00 AM printer

HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly rose Tuesday following another record close on Wall Street as investors bet on China and the US reaching a mini trade deal despite a report saying Beijing was concerned about the chances of an agreement.

Hong Kong extended Monday’s rally with another surge but continuing protests in parts of the city — particularly a violent standoff at a university — remained a source of worry, reports AFP.

Regional traders were given another strong lead from Wall Street, where all three main indexes ended at new records on hopes for a good holiday shopping season with the key Black Friday sales day coming next week.

World equities have broadly been on the rise in recent weeks on optimism that the world’s top two economies will eventually hammer out a mini trade deal as part of a wider agreement.

However, there have been bumps in the road and the latest came Monday when CNBC reported that China was pessimistic about the chances of a pact because Donald Trump is not in favour of rolling back tariffs.

Trump last week denied claims by Beijing that the two sides had put in place a plan to remove levies as the talks progress.

The report again highlighted the fragile nature of the negotiations.

“Investors have little option but to keep pace with the rapid shifts on the US-China phase-one deal, attempting to make sense of the many comments — official and from press ‘sources’ — on whether a rollback was now genuinely on the table,” said Stephen Innes at AxiTrader. “Ultimately they remain hostage to these developments.”

However, he said the broad gains on Tuesday meant “it looks like (investors) are starting to take trade headlines with a barrel of salt”.

In early trade, regional markets swung in and out of positive territory.

Shanghai jumped 0.9 percent, Sydney piled on 0.7 percent and Taipei rallied 0.5 percent, while Wellington and Manila were both up 0.2 percent. Jakarta and Mumbai also enjoyed gains.

But Tokyo ended 0.5 percent lower, Singapore lost 0.6 percent and Seoul shed 0.3 percent, while Bangkok was slightly lower.