Positive noises from China on U.S. trade talks lifted European stocks on Thursday and snuffed out a modest rally in safe-haven assets that had dominated in Asia.
Europe’s main bourses had initially stuttered but muscled 0.5 per cent higher when China said it was in close communication with Washington and preparing to make progress in upcoming trade talks.
U.S. President Donald Trump had also stoked hopes when he told reporters the two sides were having “good conversations” and that an agreement “could happen sooner than you think.”
Investors top-sliced some of their European government bond holdings in response, as the third German resignation from the European Central Bank’s board, in recent years overnight, also amplified doubts around the sustainability of its stimulus measures.
But it was nothing too dramatic. Ten-year yields were up no more than 2 basis points across the region.
The major currencies barely budged too, having now got used to the constant “toing and froing“ of the year-long trade war.
Just on Tuesday, Trump had sharply criticised China in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly where he said he would not accept a “bad deal.”
“I think the trade talks will take years, if it ever has a solution,” Makor Capital Markets strategist, Stéphane Barbier de la Serre, said.
“To me, what we see (today) is just market expectations; it is purely micro management of the market, nothing else. We have nearing a point where nobody cares about the discussions.”
The side winding dollar was still well within reach of a 2-year high, having also shrugged off the latest controversy surrounding Trump.
Transcripts of a call showed he had nudged Ukraine’s president for possible information on presidential rival Joe Biden.
Traders, however, remained sceptical about the likelihood of Trump being officially impeached.
The biggest currency rise of the day meanwhile, was New Zealand dollar which climbed 0.5 per cent to 0.6305 dollar.
This was after the head of the country’s central bank said it was unlikely to need unconventional stimulus measures.
Elsewhere in the region, Philippines joined the army of global central banks which have cut interest rates, this month, with a 25 basis point trimmed to 4 per cent.
Mexico could slice its 8 per cent rates but a similar amount later too.
Overnight, the rest Asia had struggled for clear direction.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan and Japan’s Nikkei both ended fractionally higher after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump signed a limited trade deal on Wednesday.
But major China tech stocks slumped more than 3 per cent for the second day running, Australian shares fell 0.5 per cent and gold tiptoed higher in a sign that some investors were still searching out safety.
Oil prices swung in and out of the red meanwhile, with Brent fetching 62.52 dollars per barrel and U.S. crude at 56.50 dollars a barrel. (Reuters/NAN)