Asian shares benefit from news of fresh China-US talks
World’s two largest economies set to meet in October
Tokyo — Asian shares extended gains on Thursday and US stock futures jumped after China said it will hold trade talks with the US in early October, raising hopes they can de-escalate their trade war before it inflicts further damage on the global economy.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.8%, while the Shanghai composite index surged 1.8%. Japan’s Nikkei added 2.4%.
US stock futures reversed early losses and rose 1%.
The Chinese yuan jumped versus the dollar in offshore trade, while safe-have assets such as gold and the yen fell.
China’s confirmation of trade talks added to upbeat geopolitical news overnight. A parliamentary vote in Britain put the brakes on the nation’s no-deal exit from the EU, Hong Kong withdrew a contentious extradition bill that sparked recent protests and political turmoil in Italy appeared to be easing.
China’s commerce ministry said its trade team will consult with their US counterparts in mid-September in preparation for negotiations in early October, hinting at progress in reducing trade friction.
Both sides had agreed to take actions to create favourable conditions, the ministry added, without giving more details.
“Since yesterday, there has been limited downside in markets because of what happened in Hong Kong, but now the US-China talks are the story,” said Masayuki Kichikawa, chief macro strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management in Tokyo.
“It’s the same about Brexit, which means less downside risk.”
Hong Kong shares erased early losses to rise 0.5%. They had jumped in afternoon trade on Wednesday after leader Carrie Lam said she was withdrawing an extradition bill that had triggered months of often violent protests in the Asian financial hub.
In currency markets, sterling held onto gains against the dollar in Asia after rallying the most in more than five months on Wednesday after legislators voted to prevent Prime Minister Boris Johnson taking Britain out of the EU without a deal on October 31.
But, more than three years since the UK voted narrowly to leave the EU, the outcome of Brexit is still unclear, with possible outcomes ranging from a crash out of the EU to abandoning the whole endeavour.
Against the offshore yuan, the dollar fell 0.2% to 7.1324 yuan.
US Treasury yields extended gains in Asia and the yield curve steepened, both signs that investors were willing to take on riskier assets.
The 10-year yield rose to 1.4758%, while two-year yields rose to 1.4519%.
The spread between two- and 10-year Treasury yields, the most commonly used measure of the yield curve, rose to its highest since August 21 on Wednesday but narrowed slightly in Asian trade.
The curve inverted on August 14 for the first time since 2007 when long-term yields traded below short-term yields, which is a widely accepted indicator of coming recession.
US West Texas Intermediate crude also reversed losses to trade up 0.2%.