China stocks soar amid hopes of a Sino-US trade deal

Stocks in mainland China advanced on Monday following reports that the U.S and China might be close to finalizing a trade deal, with Beijing offering to lower tariffs on certain U.S. products.

By the end of its trading day, the Shanghai composite rose 1.12 percent to close at about 3,027.58 — breaching the 3,000 level for the first time since June 2018. Meanwhile, the Shenzhen component surged 2.364 percent to close at 9,384.42 and the Shenzhen composite added 2.214 percent to finish its trading day at 1,599.48.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also rose more than 0.7 percent in its final hour of trading, with shares of Chinese telecommunications equipment firm ZTE gaining 1.84 percent.

Other markets in Asia mostly gained. Japan’s Nikkei 225 advanced 1.02 percent to close at 21,822.04 as shares of index heavyweight Fanuc jumped 3.48 percent. The Topix was 0.73 percent higher to end its trading day at 1,627.59.

The ASX 200 in Australia rose 0.4 percent to close at 6,217.40, with the materials subindex gaining 0.66 percent. Shares of major miners advanced: Rio Tinto added 1.59 percent, Fortescue Metals Group soared 6.86 percent and BHP Billiton gained 1.18 percent.

In South Korea, however, the Kospi shed earlier gains to close 0.22 percent lower at 2,190.66 with industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics declining 0.55 percent.

US-China trade deal progress

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the U.S. and China are “in the final stage of completing a trade deal,” with Beijing offering to lower tariffs on U.S. products in categories ranging from chemicals to autos. For its part, the U.S. is considering eliminating most, if not all, of the trade sanctions placed on Chinese goods last year, according to the Journal.

Following the Journal’s report, Timothy Stratford, managing partner at Covington & Burling said it was a good news that the two sides could reach an agreement since the uncertainty, and the threat of additional retaliation, had been “very problematic for companies doing business with China.”

On the other hand, there was a lack of details about “what is in the agreement,” Stratford, who was a former assistant U.S. trade representative, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday. “We haven’t really heard much at all about what might be included in the agreement that would address these issues,” he said.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, was at 96.425 after seeing highs close to 96.6 last week. That followed comments by Trump over the weekend on the dollar’s impact on the American economy.

The Japanese yen traded at 111.95 against the greenback after seeing highs around 110.4 in the previous week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7086 after it touched highs beyond $0.716 last week.

Oil prices rose Monday afternoon during Asian trading hours, with the international benchmark Brent crude futures contract adding 0.23 percent to $65.22 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also rose 0.2 percent to $55.91 per barrel.

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