Asian shares slip on trade deal worry, dollar defensive

Reuters SHANGHAI | Updated on November 01, 2019

The losses in Asia mirrored falls in global stock markets on Thursday. File Photo   -  Reuters

Chinese officials doubt long-term trade deal with US

Asian shares fell on Friday in a weak start to the month and off three-month highs struck this week on fresh concerns over Sino-US trade prospects and ahead of US economic data, while the dollar eased against major rivals.

Chinese officials doubt that a comprehensive long-term trade deal with Washington and US President Donald Trump is possible, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

The latest blow to hopes that the world's two largest economies will reach a deal to end their bruising nearly 16-month trade war comes despite comments from Trump on Thursday that the countries would soon announce a new site for the signing of a “Phase One” trade deal after Chile cancelled a planned summit set for mid-November.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.09 per cent on the day, and about 0.5 per cent lower than three-month highs touched Thursday. The losses in Asia mirrored falls in global stock markets on Thursday, as MSCI's gauge of equity performance in 47 countries fell from 20-month highs. The index continued to ease on Friday, trimming 0.07 per cent.

Japan's Nikkei slid 0.63 per cent in early trade, and Australian shares were 0.12 per cent lower.

News of China's doubts over a trade deal was “not entirely unexpected”, Greg McKenna, strategist at McKenna Macro, said in a morning note to clients, noting that the falls in equity markets were relatively small. Retreats in the S&P 500 and the US 10-year Treasury yield indicated some technical resistance in the market, he said. “Either way, today's deluge of manufacturing PMI's and then U.S. non-farm (payrolls) tonight will be an important factor in where markets head next,” McKenna said.

The Institute for Supply Management is due to release data from its survey of purchasing managers on Friday. A separate PMI survey released Thursday by the Chicago Fed showed a sharper contraction in midwestern manufacturing activity for October.

The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was a touch higher at 1.6927 per cent compared with its US close of 1.691 per cent on Thursday. The two-year yield, sensitive to market expectations of Federal Reserve policy, was at 1.5279 per cent compared with a US close of 1.526 per cent.

The Fed cut interest rates for a third time this year on Wednesday to help sustain US growth, but signalled there would be no further reductions unless the economy takes a turn for the worse.

In the currency market, the dollar was a touch weaker against the safe-haven yen, trimming 0.06 per cent to 107.95. The euro was 0.04 per cent higher on the day at $1.1155, while the dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was down 0.07 per cent at 97.285 on the day. The dollar index has fallen 0.56 per cent this week.

US crude ticked up 0.26 per cent to $54.32 a barrel and Brent crude rose 0.07 per cent to $59.66 per barrel. Spot gold eased, trimming 0.04 per cent to $1,512.57 per ounce.

Published on November 01, 2019

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