Thursday, 17 October, 2019

Asian Shares Boosted by Trade Talk Optimism

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie President Donald Trump Evan Vucci AP President Donald Trump
Patty Aguilar | 12 October, 2019, 16:49

China's state-run media hailed the trade war truce with the United States as "momentous" on December 3 but warned of complex negotiations ahead, even as President Donald Trump said Beijing agreed to cut auto tariffs.

Trade has dominated markets once again this week, with stocks rising and falling in lockstep with headlines. "And I think Phase 1 should happen quickly", Trump said.

Hirson said the two sides ultimately may not get through to phase two. On Friday, he said the two sides would now work on a deal in phases, a reversal from his previous position that he was looking for a "complete" China deal, not an interim agreement.

But more progress will have to be made on key differences in later negotiations, including United States allegations China forces foreign countries to hand over trade secrets in return for access to the Chinese market.

"Behind the hype, this is nothing more than a partial and ostensibly unsustainable deal lacking in real enforcement mechanism", said Gregory Daco, chief United States economist at Oxford Economics. The stock bounce came as a new University of MI consumer sentiment survey indicated that optimism among American consumers rebounded in October to the highest level in three months, due in part to easing concern over the US-China trade war.

Mr. Trump said they made progress on technology transfers and will deal with it partially in phase one.

Friday's announcement also made no mention of commitments by Beijing in sensitive areas including subsidies to industry and cyber security, or the status of telecom equipment giant Huawei, which faces damaging USA sanctions. Trump has said he is willing to use Huawei, one of the biggest global makers of smartphones and network switching gear, as a bargaining chip in the trade talks. Recent reports claimed both sides could come to a partial agreement, possibly delaying the tariff hike scheduled for next week.

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Off the table USA restrictions on Chinese investments in its high-tech sectors - blocking Huawei from government contracts - and sanctions on a series of China's tech giants have also cast a shadow on trade negotiations. Even before the developments on Thursday, some analysts had been expecting that the October 15 tariff increases would be pushed back.

Trump tweeted earlier Friday that "good things" were happening in the meetings - and that if the countries did reach an agreement, he would be able to sign it without a lengthy congressional approval process.

Another potential stumbling block is how to enforce any agreement.

The world's two largest economies have made progress in their trade dispute before without sealing a deal. Washington says some must remain in place to ensure Chinese compliance.

Trump and Liu had good breakthroughs during meetings earlier this year.

Despite that, Beijing has gone ahead with other industry-opening initiatives aimed at making China's economy more competitive and productive.

China's securities regulator on Friday unveiled a firm timetable for scrapping foreign ownership limits in futures, securities and mutual fund companies for the first time. The escalation has rattled investors and businesses, which have begun delaying investment and hiring amid continuing uncertainty about the trade war's trajectory. That starts with futures traders January 1 and extends to securities firms and mutual fund managers later in the year.

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