Asian markets trade mixed; US-China trade talks set to resume

Asian markets were mixed on Monday afternoon with investors watching out for developments on U.S.-China trade situation, as negotiations are set to continue in Beijing later this week.

The mainland Chinese markets, which were offline for much of last week due to the Lunar New Year holidays, saw gains by the end of the morning session. The Shanghai composite rose more than 0.8 percent while the Shenzhen component advanced 2.281 percent. The Shenzhen composite gained 2.175 percent.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.23 percent as shares of Chinese tech giant Tencent gained 1.22 percent.

South Korea’s Kospi largely recovered from its earlier losses but remained slightly lower in afternoon trade, with shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics declining 0.67 percent.

In Australia, the ASX 200 shed its earlier gains to slip more than 0.3 percent in afternoon trade. The heavily weighted financial subindex fell 1.29 percent as shares of the country’s so-called Big Four banks declined.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group shed 1.64 percent, Commonwealth Bank of Australia slipped 1.35 percent, Westpac fell 1.68 percent and National Australia Bank declined 1.72 percent.

Japan’s stock markets are closed on Monday for a holiday.

US-China trade talks continue

Investors will be watching for developments on the U.S.-China trade front, with a new round of negotiations set to be held in Beijing later this week.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the two countries have not yet put together a draft on the matters they agree or disagree. It comes as both Washington and Beijing are attempting to strike a deal on trade before a key early March deadline, following which additional tariffs will be slapped on Chinese imports to the U.S.

U.S. President Donald Trump also said Thursday he will not meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping before that deadline.

“The reality is that olive branches, rather than rose stalks, are the best that anyone (anchored to reality) may be looking for,” said Mizuho Bank in a morning note.

It pointed to “restraints” overhanging those talks.

“First, as of late last week, President Trump had declared that he would not be meeting with President Xi before the deadline (1st Mar) on the US-China trade truce expires,” the note said.

“However, Trump has also categorically stated that there will be no US-China trade deal till he and President Xi have met. Therefore that is as good a guaranteeing that there will be no deal before the US-China truce expires.” That, the note said, not only “contradicts” Trump’s earlier tweets enthusing about a deal in the works, but also “begs the question” of whether that meant higher tariffs on Chinese imports.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.701 after seeing an earlier low of 96.619.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.92 against the dollar after seeing an earlier high of 109.67. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7092, following a tumble last week from levels above $0.721 in the previous trading week.

Source: CNBC

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