Stocks bounce, safe havens retreat as Trump delays China tariff

Stocks bounce, safe havens retreat as Trump delays China tariff

TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian shares joined a global equities rally and safe-haven government bonds pulled back on Wednesday, after Washington delayed tariffs on some Chinese imports in much-needed relief for markets gripped by political and economic turmoil.

FILE PHOTO: A man walks past in front of a stock quotation board showing the price of the SoftBank Corp. and Nikkei share average outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan December 19, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Wall Street stocks soared overnight as U.S. President Donald Trump backed off his Sept. 1 deadline for 10% tariffs on the remaining Chinese imports, delaying duties on cellphones, laptops and other consumer goods in the hopes of blunting their impact on U.S. holiday sales.

The surge in U.S. stocks lifted MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS by 0.4%.

Australian stocks gained 0.4%, South Korea’s KOSPI .KS11 advanced 1.2% and Japan’s Nikkei .N225 rose 0.8%.

Graphic: Asian stock markets – tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4

Yet the latest bounce hardly clawed back the sizable losses for equities over recent months, and broad market sentiment remained fragile given that the U.S.-China trade conflict is still far from resolved. Uncertainty around political risks such as the unrest in Hong Kong also continue to keep investors on edge.

The year-long tariff dispute between the world’s biggest economies has already disrupted global supply chains and slowed economic growth.

“President Trump did delay the tariffs and while this is positive for equities, the markets will remain wary of the tariffs still being implemented come December,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.

“And while the tensions in Hong Kong are not a main caliber theme for all markets, their negative impact has been multiplied as they have taken place simultaneously with developments in Argentina.”

Fears of a possible return to interventionist policies, and by extension a possible debt default, jolted global markets this week after conservative Argentina President Mauricio Macri was handed a trouncing by the opposition in presidential primaries over the weekend.

In currencies, the safe-haven yen pulled back sharply amid the ebb in risk aversion. The Japanese currency is often sought in times of market turmoil and political tensions.

The yen stood at 106.450 JPY= per dollar, having lost more than 1% overnight when it recoiled from a seven-month high near 105.000 brushed at the week’s start.

Boosted by its surge against the yen, the dollar index .DXY versus a basket of six major currencies advanced nearly 0.5% the previous day and last stood little changed at 97.778.

The euro was steady at $1.1177 EUR= after slipping 0.4% against the dollar on Tuesday.

The greenback was also supported as U.S yields rose on the slight easing in U.S.-China trade tensions, reversing some of their sharp declines seen at the start of the week.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury note US10YT=RR last yielded 1.691% after climbing 6 basis points overnight, knocked away from a three-year low of 1.595% plumbed a week ago.

Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were down 0.4% at $61.06 per barrel, running out of steam after soaring nearly 5% the previous day.

Crude prices jumped on Tuesday as Washington’s decision to delay imposing tariffs on some Chinese goods eased worries about a global economic slowdown, at least for the time being.

Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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