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Asian markets trace Wall Street records, buoyed by trade optimism

Report that US may cut some tariffs on Chinese goods contributed to upbeat mood

By AFP - Nov 05,2019 - Last updated at Nov 05,2019

People walk by the New York Stock Exchange on Monday in New York City, US (AFP photo)

HONG KONG — Asian markets rose again on Tuesday, tracking a record lead from Wall Street as trade optimism was given another lift by a report saying the US was considering cutting some tariffs on Chinese goods.

The rally built on Monday's advance with global equities buoyed by expectations the economic superpowers are close to a mini trade deal, strong earnings and lower interest rates.

A forecast-busting US jobs report on Friday and signs the American economy is stabilising added to the upbeat mood.

The Financial Times said on Tuesday that the White House is considering dropping existing tariffs on more than $100 billion of imports in a bid to seal the deal with China.

It cited unnamed sources as saying officials were looking at rolling back levies on a range of imports including clothing, appliances, and flatscreen monitors, which have been subject to 15 per cent rates since September 1.

The US has imposed duties on Chinese goods worth hundreds of billions and the removal of some of these is said to be a key demand of Beijing in any trade agreement.

Meanwhile, a Bloomberg News article said Chinese officials were considering locations in the United States that Xi Jinping and Donald Trump could hold a signing ceremony as early as this month.

Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia-Pacific at OANDA, said: "It could be interpreted as the US blinking first as the presidential impeachment hearings gather momentum, and we approach the holiday season and then an election year."

AxiTrader senior market analyst Stephen Innes said that while shares have enjoyed a long run on the back of the trade deal hopes, investors appeared willing to press on with their buying for now.

"The question is whether the market has now priced in the... phase one trade deal," he said in a note.

"And for the time being it appears, risk markets are in benefit-of-the-doubt mode, preferring to look through any fragility in macro data, while applying a higher weight to comments on trade."

Tokyo led gainers as it reopened after a long weekend to play catch-up with Monday's rally.

The Nikkei ended 1.8 per cent higher, while Shanghai rose 0.5 per cent, Sydney added 0.2 per cent and Singapore put on 0.4 per cent. Seoul climbed 0.6 per cent, with Taipei rallying 0.8 per cent.

Hong Kong rose 0.5 per cent as investors there brushed off data showing a key measure of business confidence fell to its lowest level in more than a decade as the city reels from global trade woes and violent democracy protests.

The Purchasing Managers Index — which measures the health of the private sector — dropped to 39.3 in October, its worst reading since 2008 during the global financial crisis, heaping fresh misery on the unrest-plagued city.

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