Asian markets climb amid U.S.-China trade optimism

Asian markets were higher on Friday as investors cheered positive developments on the U.S.-China trade front.

Mainland Chinese stocks rose on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.88 percent to around 2,973.66 and the Shenzhen composite 0.314 percent higher to approximately 1,636.96. The Shenzhen component also rose 0.3 percent to 9,666.58.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 2.32 percent, as of its final hour of trading, with shares of CNOOC surging 4.52 percent.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 1.15 percent on the day to 21,798.87 while the Topix index added 0.88 percent to close at 1,595.27. Shares of Fast Retailing, the company behind apparel giant Uniqlo, jumped 2.63 percent after the firm reported a record profit on Thursday.

In South Korea, the Kospi advanced 0.81 percent to end its trading day at 2,044.61.

Tokyo and Seoul are expected to meet on Friday in Geneva for discussions regarding their ongoing dispute over Japan’s tighter export controls for materials critical to South Korea’s technology sector.

Meanwhile, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.91 percent higher at 6,606.80.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index added 1.28 percent.

US-China trade

Investors watched for market reaction to 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.

“To affirm a temporary trade truce, the second day of trade talks (today) will need US President Donald Trump to suspend or cancel the US tariffs that are scheduled to hit on Chinese goods October 15 and December 15,” strategists at Singapore’s DBS Group Research wrote in a note.

Still, in the longer term, the strategists said: “The broader China-US trade war remains unresolved.”

“The best scenario probably would be just a partial deal, I think,” Alex Wong, director of asset management at Ample Capital, told CNBC’s “Street SIgns” on Friday.

“I don’t think we (will) see a very strong outcome today,” Wong said.

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 percent to 30 percent on October 15. A 15 percent 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.

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 percent to end its trading day at 2,938.13. The Nasdaq Composite closed 0.6 percent higher at 7,950.78.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98.620 after falling from levels above 99.0 yesterday.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.99 against the dollar after weakening from levels below 107.6 in the previous session. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6779 after jumping from levels below $0.672 yesterday.

Oil prices jumped in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures gaining 1.98 percent to $60.27 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also advanced 1.85 percent to $54.54 per barrel.

Source: CNBC