Asian markets post fresh gains as China offers to eliminate trade surplus with US

Asian markets post fresh gains as China offers to eliminate trade surplus with US
Highlights

Asian markets on Monday built on last weeks rally as investors cheered a report that China had offered to eliminate its massive trade surplus with the United States, while data showed Chinese economic growth hit forecasts in 2018

Hong Kong: Asian markets on Monday built on last week's rally as investors cheered a report that China had offered to eliminate its massive trade surplus with the United States, while data showed Chinese economic growth hit forecasts in 2018.

Regional equities picked up where they finished on Friday after Bloomberg said Beijing had pledged to ramp up spending on US goods over the next five years. While there was some scepticism over the offer, observers said it indicated that talks between the economic superpowers were heading in the right direction. The news provided further support to shares, which were already being buoyed by hopes the two sides would be able to resolve the tariffs spat, which has hammered world markets for almost a year.

China's top economics negotiator is due to visit Washington later this month for more talks as the end of a 90-day truce agreed between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping draws closer. "For now, markets are going ahead with the growing perception that there is a lot of willingness by both parties to make a deal," said National Australia Bank senior strategist Rodrigo Catril. "But as the March 1st deadline approaches the market is also likely to demand more concrete evidence that a deal looks more likely than not."

Shanghai closed 0.6 percent higher and Hong Kong rose 0.4 percent in the afternoon, while Tokyo ended 0.3 per cent stronger. Sydney rose 0.2 percent, Singapore added 0.4 percent and Taipei put on 0.5 percent with Wellington and Jakarta also up. China released figures showing the economy expanded at the 6.6 percent clip expected in an AFP survey, but that represented its slowest pace since 1990, when it was hit by outrage over the Tiananmen Square crackdown a year earlier.

And in a sign of the battle Beijing faces in getting things back on track, October-December growth came in at 6.4 percent, the worst quarterly figure since the global financial crisis 10 years ago. The data come as China struggles to address a chronic debt burden while at the same time fighting the damaging trade war with the US.

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