China Rebounds on Trade Hopes

Asia markets were mostly higher on Friday as developments on the U.S.-China trade front overcame fears of a slowdown in the global economy which resulted in sharp declines in stocks stateside overnight.

Markets in Japan returned to work Friday after a long holiday, the Nikkei 225 index lost 452.81 points, or 2.3%, to 19,561.96

Shares of Japanese conglomerate Softbank fell 2.9% and Fast Retailing, the company behind the Uniqlo chain of apparel stores, dropped 5.5%.

The Japanese yen, widely viewed as a safe-haven currency, traded at 107.99 against the U.S. dollar after rising sharply on Thursday to levels below 106. Stocks in Japan were closed on Wednesday and Thursday for holidays.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index zoomed 561.67 points, or 2.2%, to 25,626.03

Australian bourses fell, as the heavily-weighted financial sub-index declined 0.3% as shares of the country’s so-called Big Four banks were mixed; Australia and New Zealand Banking Group slipped 0.4% and Westpac saw losses of 0.04%. National Australia Bank, on the other hand, recovered from earlier losses to rise 0.2% while Commonwealth Bank of Australia was slightly higher.

The Australian dollar was at $0.7024 U.S. after seeing an earlier low of $0.6991.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 regained 71.03 points, or 2.4%, to 3,035.87

The positive moves in China came after the country’s commerce ministry announced that vice ministerial level trade talks with the U.S. would be held on Monday and Tuesday.

The development on the trade front was also bolstered by positive data from China’s services sector. The Caixin/Markit services purchasing managers’ index jumped to a six-month high of 53.9 in December, rising from 53.8 in the previous month. The figure was significantly higher than the 50.0 mark which separates expansion from contraction.

The data came days after China reported a decline in its factory activity for December.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index recovered 46.35 points, or 1.5%, to 3,059.23

In Korea, the Kospi index recouped 16.55 points, or 0.8%, to 2,010.25

In Taiwan, the Taiex index stumbled 109.91 points, or 1.2%, to 9,382.51

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 rebounded 11.39 points, or 0.1%, to 8,743.76

In Australia, the ASX 200 doffed 14.05 points, or 0.3%, to 5,619.36