Asian markets relieved at China-US truce, Australian dollar jumps

Wayne Cole, Reuters

Posted at Dec 03 2018 07:52 AM

Chinese President Xi Jinping and members of Chinese delegation attend a working dinner with US President Donald Trump after the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina Dec. 1, 2018. Kevin Lamarque, Reuters

SYDNEY -- Asian shares looked set to rally on Monday after US and Chinese leaders brokered a truce in their trade conflict, a relief for the global growth outlook and a positive for emerging markets.

Trade-exposed currencies led the early gains, with the Australian dollar notching a 4-month peak, while the dollar slipped against the yuan.

"Markets are opening with a knee-jerk boost to risk appetite but time will tell how enduring the optimism proves to be," said ANZ economist Jo Masters. "There are already very different official takes on what was achieved at the meeting."

"But for now, both sides can claim a win," she added. "Perhaps not insignificantly, it provides a window to export the soybean crop from key Republican states, at least."

China and the United States agreed to halt additional tariffs in a deal that keeps their trade war from escalating as the 2 sides try again to bridge their differences with fresh talks aimed at reaching a deal within 90 days.

The White House said on Saturday that President Donald Trump told Chinese President Xi Jinping during high-stakes talks in Argentina that he would not boost tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent on Jan. 1 as previously announced.

The Aussie dollar jumped 0.9 percent in reaction to $0.7381, while racking up 1.2 percent on the safe-haven yen to 84.

The US dollar eased on a basket of currencies to 96.967, but also firmed on the yen to 113.79. The euro added almost 0.4 percent to $1.1356.

The dollar had come under pressure last week when the market took comments by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell as hinting at a slower pace of rate hikes.

Powell was scheduled to testify on Wednesday to a congressional Joint Economic Committee. But the hearing is expected to be postponed to Thursday because major exchanges will be closed on Wednesday in honor of former US President George H.W. Bush, who died on Saturday at the age of 94.

Treasuries rallied hard late on Friday to leave 10-year yields down at 2.99 percent.

The progress on Sino-US trade and an easier dollar could provide some support to commodity prices.

Oil suffered its weakest month in more than 10 years in November, losing more than 20 percent as global supply outstripped demand.

Speculation is high the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia would agree some form of production cut at a meeting in Vienna on Thursday.

Brent futures were yet to trade at $59.46 a barrel, while US crude stood at $50.93 a barrel.