US-China trade developments are in focus for Asia markets

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Weekend developments in U.S.-China talks, regarded as positive by analysts on the whole, are likely to be in the spotlight as markets open for trade this week.

U.S. Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday that the two countries were “putting the trade war on hold” as they worked out an agreement.

The countries said they had agreed to “substantially reduce” the U.S. trade deficit with China in a joint statement on Saturday. According to the statement, China would significantly increase its purchases of U.S. goods and services, although it remained unclear how much that would amount to.

“Overall, markets should view this positively at the open this week, but will continue to be attentive to further developments,” ANZ analysts said in a morning note.

Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were little changed, lower by 0.02 percent compared to the index’s previous close.

Australian SPI futures had slipped 0.49 percent at the end of the Friday trading session.

U.S. stock index futures, meanwhile, were higher early on Monday Asia time following Mnuchin’s comments, with the implied open for the Dow Jones industrial average about 188 points higher. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also pointed to moderate gains.

Stock indexes stateside had closed mostly lower on Friday as investors digested trade-related headlines ahead of the joint statement issued at the weekend: The Dow Jones industrial average finished the day flat at 24,715.09, the S&P 500 edged down by 0.26 percent to 2,712.97 and the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.38 percent to close at 7,354.34.

Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury yields eased Friday after recently touching multiyear highs. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note last stood at 3.06 percent after surpassing 3.1 percent for the first time in around seven years earlier in the week.

The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against its peers, stood at 93.696. Against the yen, the greenback fetched 110.86 at 6:53 a.m. HK/SIN.

The Australian dollar strengthened to trade at $0.7521, with the improvement in investor sentiment seen to be buoying the currency.

The economic calendar for Monday is fairly quiet (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 7:50 a.m.: Japan trade data
  • 10:30 a.m.: Thailand first-quarter GDP
  • 4:30 p.m.: Hong Kong April inflation

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