Asian markets back on front foot as trade hopes return

Asian markets swung back to a rally Thursday on renewed hopes for the China-US trade talks after a report said a deal could be finalised by the end of next week, reports BSS/AFP.

The story came a day after Donald Trump had poured freezing water on the prospects for an agreement by suggesting he would be happy waiting until after the 2020 presidential election before signing off on one.

It also provided a much-needed boost to investors following disappointing US data on jobs and the key services sector.

Bloomberg News reported that US negotiators expected a deal to be completed before a new round of US tariffs on China is due to hit on December 15. It quoted unnamed sources as saying Trump’s comments that he had no

deadline and “in some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election” should not have been taken as a sign the talks had stalled.

Markets globally turned south following the remarks, with observers suggesting US bills supporting Hong Kong protesters and minority Uighurs in China had also dented the chances of a pact being signed. AxiTrader’s Stephen Innes said weak US data played an important role in Trump’s thinking regarding the trade talks.

“These are critical chunks of the economy the president must defend, but the more vulnerable data also provides inferior optics for his election 2020 campaign,” he wrote in a note.

“If these gloomy forward economic gauges start to leak into the consumption and/or employment sectors, one would have to assume that

President Trump, from a purely economic perspective, would be as motivated as (Xi Jinping) to table a trade deal sooner than later”, he said.