World shares climb on US-China trade deal optimism
A year-end rally seems to be building across all markets with hopes of a global economic rebound
London — World shares climbed back towards record highs on Tuesday, as hopes that Washington may roll back some of the tariffs it has imposed on Chinese imports rekindled optimism on the global economic outlook.
A year-end rally looks to be building. Wall Street is on course for its best year since 2013, with gains of more than 20%, and MSCI’s all-country index is just 1.5% shy of its record peak after advancing for a ninth day in 10.
Europe’s main markets saw a comparatively subdued start, after reaching a 21-month high on Monday, but Asia raced to its highest in six-months, China’s yuan climbed above 7/$ and global bond yields were rising again.
Hopes of a trade truce between the US and China this month fueled the optimism, with some more details being filled in on what’s expected to be a phase one agreement. As part of this agreement, China is pushing US President Donald Trump to remove more tariffs imposed in September, according to overnight reports. Beijing and Washington spoke of progress in the talks and US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said licences for US companies to sell components to China’s telecoms giant Huawei will come “very shortly”.
“The big picture is that everyone is now setting themselves up for the strong rebound case [for the global economy]," said Peter Garnry, Saxo Bank’s head of global equities. “And with the flood gates open for monetary policy, assets are just flying, especially equities.”
Global readings of the October manufacturing business surveys showed the aggregate ticked up for the third month in a row last month to show an expansion in factory activity. Forward-looking indicators from the survey, such as the new-orders component, moved into positive territory for the first time since April, according to JPMorgan.
It all helped ease concern in bond markets about recession risks facing the global economy, sparking a sell-off across major bond markets.
The 10-year US treasury yield rose four basis points to about 1.83% and the US yield curve — measuring the gap between two- and 10-year yields — was at its steepest in three months.
In Europe, 10-year yields on safe-haven German bunds also climbed to their highest since July.
In Asia, the mood was also helped by the People’s Bank of China cut in its a medium-term lending rate, the first since early 2016. It was only a token five basis points to 3.25%, but analysts said it underscores Beijing’s ongoing desire to support its economy.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.5% to reach levels last seen in early May. It was led by gains in Chinese shares, which jumped 1.3% to their highest levels since late April. Taiwanese shares gained 0.4% to near three-decade highs and Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.34% to a one-year peak after a market holiday on Monday.
That followed record closing highs for the US S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq and after the Financial Times had reported that the US was considering rolling back levies on $112bn of Chinese imports, introduced at a 15% rate on September 1.
China is pushing Trump to remove more tariffs as part of a US-China trade deal, expected to be signed later this month, people familiar with the negotiations said on Monday.
“There may have been some expectations that the US may postpone the remaining tariffs, which are due to kick in on December 15. But if it goes further by rolling back existing tariffs, that would not only benefit the economy but would also make the truce seem more permanent,” said Yukino Yamada, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities.
The next focus on the US economic front is a US non-manufacturing survey due later on Tuesday, with economists expecting a rebound in business sentiment from a three-year low.
Saxo Bank’s Garnry said a better-than-expected reading could fire markets higher.
Yuan reclaims key level
In the currency market, the dollar gained 0.2% on the yen to ¥108.80, extending its recovery from the 107.89 touched on Friday. Trade optimism kept the Chinese yuan near its highest levels since mid-August, after the onshore yuan posted its strongest close since August 2.
The euro was little changed at $1.1126, off last week’s high of $1.1175. The Australian dollar gained 0.2% to $0.6900 on the trade hopes and after the nation’s central bank held interest rates steady after three cuts this year.
Oil prices gained, staying near their highest since late September, buoyed by an improved outlook for crude demand as better-than-expected US jobs growth added to the hopes for a US-China trade deal. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude traded at $56.62 a barrel, up 0.14% after reaching a six-week high of $57.43 on Monday. International benchmark Brent gained 0.23% to $62.27 a barrel.
Rising economic optimism dented gold, which fell 0.47% to $1,503 an ounce.
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