Asian Equities Advance; Official Says Trump Will Meet Xi Jinping “Soon”

12 Feb 2019

Asian Equities Advance; Official Says Trump Will Meet Xi Jinping “Soon”

Asian stocks gained in morning trade on Tuesday after the Trump administration said the U.S. president still wants to meet China’s Xi Jinping. The comments raised hopes of a trade deal before a March 1 deadline for higher tariffs.

China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component gained 0.7% and 1.4% by 9:25 PM ET (02:25 GMT). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged up 0.2%.

The gain in Chinese stocks came after White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told Fox News earlier in the day that Trump wants to meet with Chinese President Xi “very soon.”

“This president wants a deal. He wants it to be fair to Americans and American workers and American interests” Conway added.

“He has forged a mutually respectful relationship with President Xi. They will meet again soon.”

Earlier this month, Trump told reporters that he did not plan to meet Xi before the March deadline. If there is no deal by then, Trump has said he might double the rate of tariffs on around $200 billion in Chinese goods.

High-level officials including U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He are gathering in Beijing this week for the latest round of trade discussions.

In other news, the Huawei saga returned to focus on Tuesday after U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo hinted at an us-or-them ultimatum to countries buying equipment from the Chinese telecoms company.

“If that equipment is co-located where we have important American systems, it makes it more difficult for us to partner alongside them,” Pompeo told reporters in Budapest on Monday.”

Pompeo then warned that countries using Huawei equipment could expose themselves to “security risks.”

“They get to make their own decisions with respect to these things,” Pompeo said. “What is imperative is that we share with them the things we know about the risks that Huawei’s presence in their networks present.”

The news came as research firm IDC revealed in its latest report that Apple’s iPhone shipments fell 19.9% during the fourth quarter in China.

“Under the impact of China's severe macro environment and domestic brand innovation products, consumers' increasingly harsh eyes are also the reasons for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s continued decline in the domestic market,” IDC said, adding that the increasing strength of Huawei’s brand and its flagship phone’s “excellent technology” helped it to eat up Apple’s shipment losses in China.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 reopened today and jumped 2.6% in morning trade. A weaker yen was cited as a tailwind for local stocks.

South Korea’s KOSPI was up 0.4%, while Australia’s ASX 200 gained 0.3%.

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