Asia stocks advance on US-China trade relief

Chinese vice premier Liu He will visit the US in the last week of January for the latest round of trade talks

Investors monitor stock prices at a brokerage house in Beijing, Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. Chinese stocks rose Friday on signs of possible progress in negotiations over Beijing's tariff war with Washington. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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Asian stocks advanced on Friday as a report of progress in US-China trade talks stirred hopes of a deal in their tariff dispute and supported risk sentiment.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicated lifting some or all tariffs imposed on Chinese imports and suggested offering a tariff rollback during bilateral trade discussions scheduled this month, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Later a US Treasury spokesman told CNBC that Mr Mnuchin had not made any such recommendations.

The CSI300 index rose 1.1 per cent at the end of the morning session on Friday, while the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.8 per cent. The CSI 300 is a capitalisation-weighted stock market designed to indicate the performance of top 300 stocks traded in the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges.

The Hang Seng index, which records and monitors daily changes of the largest companies of the Hong Kong stock market, added 1 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei gained more than 1 per cent to reach a one-month high.

“As with 2018, the US-China trade row remains a key market theme in 2019. A slight difference is that there are some signs that the two sides are seeking some sort of a resolution,” said Soichiro Monji, senior economist at Daiwa SB Investments in Tokyo.

"China seems to be running low on options, while the US would also want to avoid a prolonged conflict given the negative consequences on its markets and the economy," saidd Mr Monji.

Chinese vice premier Liu He will visit the US in the last week of January for the latest round of trade talks aimed at resolving the dispute between the world's two largest economies.


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In December, Washington and Beijing agreed to a 90-day truce in a trade war that has disrupted the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars of goods.

Indicators released recently have shown signs that the Chinese economy is losing some momentum.

China's fourth-quarter economic growth, due to be reported on Monday, likely slowed to the weakest pace since the global financial crisis, a Reuters poll showed, as demand faltered at home and abroad.