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Asia Markets: Asian markets race to gains on renewed trade-deal hopes

Asian markets gained in early trading Monday, boosted by encouraging reports of developments in U.S.-China trade talks. Read More...

Asian markets were broadly higher Monday on signs that the U.S. and China were closing in on a trade deal after months of negotiations.

On Sunday, Reuters reported that the U.S. was watering down demands that China cut down on industrial subsidies as a condition for a trade deal, after encountering strong Chinese opposition. On Saturday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the U.S. was open to facing repercussions if it doesn’t live up to terms of the trade deal, Bloomberg News reported, and said talks are “getting close to the final round of concluding issues.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings, Mnuchin said the U.S. and China had held phone discussions last week and he wasn’t sure if more face-to-face meetings would be needed. He did not give a timeframe for when negotiations might be wrapped up, but his comments fueled hopes that a wide-ranging dispute between the world’s two biggest economies could soon be put to rest.

“U.S. and China have been actively keeping alive hopes that a trade deal is within reach. This coupled with better-than-expected China data in March led the Shanghai Composite Index to its highest level since March 2018,” DBS Group Research strategists Philip Wee and Joanne Goh said in a commentary.

Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +1.41%   rose 1.5%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.58%   gained 1%. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +1.12%   jumped 1.6%, while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, +0.89%   advanced 1.4%. South Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.52%   was up 0.6%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +0.67%  , Singapore STI, -0.07%   and Indonesia JAKIDX, -0.07%   all posted gains. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.12%   bucked the trend, posting slight losses.

Among individual stocks, SoftBank Group 9984, +2.83%   jumped in Tokyo trading, and Nintendo 7974, +1.90%   and oil producer Inpex 1605, +3.25%   also gained. In Hong Kong, real estate companies such as China Resources Land 1109, +1.45%   and Country Garden 2007, +1.22%  rose. Asiana Airlines 020560, +30.00%   surged in South Korea after reports that its parent company had agreed to sell a stake in the airline. Beach Energy BPT, +1.42%   and Oil Search OSH, +1.13%   advanced in Australia.

Last week, China reported that its exports in March rose 14.2% from a year earlier. This was a turnaround from a 20.8% contraction in February, signaling stronger global demand. Sales to the American market also accelerated despite President Donald Trump’s tariffs of up to 25% on $250 billion of Chinese goods.

On Wall Street, strong gains by banks on Friday led the broad S&P 500 index SPX, +0.66%   to its third straight weekly gain. It finished 0.7% higher at 2,907.41.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.03%   rebounded 1% to 26,412.30 and the Nasdaq composite COMP, +0.46%   advanced 0.5%, to 7,984.16.

Benchmark U.S. crude CLK9, -0.42%   shed 24 cents to $63.65 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 31 cents to close at $63.89 on Friday. Brent crude LCOM9, -0.20%  , used to price international oils, lost 12 cents to $71.43 per barrel in London. It added 72 cents in the previous session to $71.55.

The dollar USDJPY, -0.05%   weakened to 111.99 yen from 112.01 yen late Friday.

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