US-China trade talks, oil, currencies

Stocks in Asia were set to trade higher on Friday amid positive developments on the U.S.-China trade front.

Futures pointed to a higher open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 21,755 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 21,660. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 21,551.98.

Investors will monitor shares of Fast Retailing, the company behind apparel giant Uniqlo, on Friday after the firm reported a record profit on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 traded about 1% higher in early trade.

US-China trade

Investors will watch for market reaction to other overnight developments on U.S.-China trade. American President Donald Trump said in a tweet Thursday that he is set to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Friday, raising expectations that progress could be made on the trade front by the two economic powerhouses.

The U.S. and China are currently in the midst of high-level trade negotiations in Washington. The world’s two largest economies seek to reach a deal to end their protracted trade war that has seen tariffs slapped on billions of dollars worth of each other’s goods and driven worries over the global economic outlook.

Trump’s tweet was the latest in a number of conflicting reports that had appeared prior to the start of high-level trade negotiations on Thursday, sending markets into a whirlwind.

A South China Morning Post report on Thursday morning in Asia said the two sides made no progress in deputy-level negotiations this week, and added that Liu would leave Washington earlier than expected. A White House spokesperson later told CNBC’s Kayla Tausche: “We are not aware of a change in the Vice Premier’s travels plans at this time.”

Bloomberg News also reported Thursday morning Asia time that the U.S was considering an agreement to suspend next week’s tariff increase in exchange for a currency pact. The U.S. previously announced it will increase duties on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods from 25% to 30% on October 15. A 15% tariff on an additional $160 billion worth of Chinese imports is also expected to kick in on December 15.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported Wednesday evening stateside that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is set to grant licenses that would allow American firms to sell nonsensitive supplies to Huawei. Earlier this year, the White House placed a ban on sales to the Chinese telecommunications giant, citing national security concerns.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

Overnight stateside, shares on Wall Street got a boost from the optimism on U.S.-China trade. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 150.66 points to close at 26,496.67 while the S&P 500 gained 0.7% to end its trading day at 2,938.13. The Nasdaq Composite closed 0.6% higher at 7,950.78.


The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98.701 after falling from levels above 99.0 yesterday.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.91 against the dollar after weakening from levels below 107.6 in the previous session. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6758 after jumping from levels below $0.672 yesterday.

What’s on tap:

  • India: Industrial production data for August at 8:00 p.m. HK/SIN

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

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