HONG KONG: A series of tweets by Donald Trump playing up the chances of a trade deal with China provided a much-needed boost to Asian equities Wednesday but investors trod cautiously as analysts warned of more volatility to come.
After more than doubling tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods last week — sparking retaliation from Beijing — Trump has threatened to hit a further $300 billion with more levies if he does not get his way in high-stakes talks.
However, in a series of tweets Tuesday the president gave markets some hope that a deal between the economic titans will eventually be struck with his counterpart Xi Jinping.
“When the time is right we will make a deal with China”, he wrote, adding that his “respect and friendship with President Xi is unlimited”.
He went on to say: “We can make a deal with China tomorrow before their companies start leaving so as not to lose USA business” and called on the Federal Reserve to “match” whatever the Chinese central bank does to support the US economy.
The remarks, while again accusing China of backsliding in the trade talks, provided some optimism and in early trade, Shanghai was up 0.8 percent while Hong Kong put on 0.6 percent and Sydney rose 0.5 percent.
Seoul added 0.6 percent, while Taipei, Wellington, Manila, and Jakarta were also well in positive territory. Seoul was barely moved.
However, Tokyo went into the break 0.8 percent lower.
Both sides have said they will resume talks in Beijing but with no date yet set dealers are looking ahead to a possible meeting between Trump and Xi at the G20 in Japan at the end of June.
“It’s just too early to tell if this is a buy (on equity markets), on slightly oversold conditions, or if it’s the start of stabilization,” Gina Martin Adams, chief equity strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence, told Bloomberg TV.
“Our working thesis is that we’re going to be in for a period of volatility for most of the next month as we await the G20 meeting.”
And OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley warned that “sentiment remains fragile and subject to the whims of trade headlines on either news tickers or social media accounts”.
He added that while some gains could be expected “one suspects a lot of money will remain on the sidelines as we await more clarity on the trade situation”.
Oil prices dipped in Asian trade on Wednesday following a surprise rise in US crude stockpiles but remain propped up by tensions in the Middle East.
Major producer Saudi Arabia said Tuesday a pumping facility on the Red Sea had been attacked by armed drones, an act claimed by Yemeni rebels.
That came days after sabotage attacks on four ships, including two Saudi Arabian oil tankers, in the United Arab Emirates.
“Trade issues will continue to cap gains in Asia, but if anything, the incidents on opposite sides of Saudi Arabia will bring home how vulnerable the flow of oil is from the Middle East,” said Halley.
Key figures around 0230 GMT –
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.8 percent at 21,051.24 (break)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.6 percent at 28,277.04
Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.8 percent at 2,905.77
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1203 from $1.1208 at 2040 GMT
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2910 from $1.2907
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.60 yen from 109.62 yen
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 38 cents at $61.40 per barrel
Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN 19 cents at $71.05 per barrel
New York – Dow: UP 0.8 percent at 25,532.05 (close)
London – FTSE 100: UP 1.1 percent at 7,241.60 (close)
At UN, Pakistan chastises India for rights abuse in Kashmir
UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan on Thursday brought into sharp focus of the world community the atrocities being committed by Indian occupation forces in Jammu and Kashmir, and urged the UN Security Council to resolve long-standing conflicts on its agenda.
“Inaction by the Security Council in cases of foreign aggression and occupation comes at a high human cost,”Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said in an open Council debate on ‘Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict’, referring to the continuing violations of International Humanitarian Law by warring parties with impunity.
“In Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” the Pakistani envoy said, “the occupying forces continue to show utter disregard for human life by systematically violating the fundamental norms of international humanitarian law and by using civilians as human shields.
“Worse, perpetrators who commit such crimes are not only protected under black laws, but are honoured by the military command.”
The rules of conduct in armed conflict are clearly codified in the 1949 Geneva Conventions and additional protocols and constitute the bedrock of international humanitarian law, she said. Yet this law continues to be flouted whenever and wherever hostilities break, with women bearing the brunt of the atrocities.
“Whether it is plausible deniability or abuse, the grim reality is, when the beast of conflict roars, legal regimes fall silent,” Ambassador Lodhi told the Security Council.
Today, she said, targeted attacks, sexual violence, forced conscription, torture, indiscriminate killings and gross human rights violations were used cynically as tools of war in conflicts.
PM Modi will play role in improving relations with Pakistan: Indian HC
MUMBAI: Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria on Friday has assured that re-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi will play his key role in improving relations with Pakistan.
In a statement, the Indian envoy said that both countries need to take solid measures to overcome the hostile relations.
He further announced that talks on Kartarpur Corridor will be held on May 27.
The statement of the High Commission to Pakistan came after Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won Lok Sabha elections 2019 with maximum number of seats.
Chinese VP to visit Pakistan this week
ISLAMABAD: Vice President of the People’s Republic of China Wang Qishan will visit Pakistan from May 26 to 28.
During his visit, the Chinese vice president will call on President Arif Alvi and have a separate meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office today.
Pakistan and China will ink several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and inaugurate projects to enhance bilateral cooperation in a broad range of areas.
It is noteworthy that the Chinese vice president is a member of 13th National People’s Congress of China and Central Foreign Affairs Commission, a key Foreign Affairs body of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
His visit underscores the vitality of the time-tested and all-weather relationship between Pakistan and China. It would reinforce the strength of bilateral ties and impart further impetus to the growing, multi-faceted cooperation between the two countries in diverse fields.