Asian stocks swing wildly on US-China trade deal mix-up

Reuters New York | Updated on June 23, 2020

China's blue-chip index regained its losses to be last up 0.3 per cent

Asian shares see-sawed in a wild ride on Tuesday following confusing statements from the White House over the United States (US)-China trade deal, with President Donald Trump later clarifying the pact was “fully intact.”

Trump's tweet bolstered market sentiment, helping e-minis for the S&P 500 swing back to positive territory. Asian shares were quick to turn around too, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside of Japan up 0.7 per cent.

Risk sentiment had taken a knock early in the Asian day after White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said the trade deal with China was “over”, linking the breakdown in part to Washington's anger over Beijing not sounding the alarm earlier about the coronavirus outbreak.

The comment caused a kneejerk selloff in equities markets, although sentiment turned around quickly after a statement from Navarro that his comment had been taken out of context.

“With the White House, you can never be sure whether they are voicing their own position or the official position,” said Moh Siong Sim, Singapore based forex analyst at the Bank Of Singapore.

“If he's speaking about his own position, it's pretty much consistent with Navarro. We know he is a hardliner ... (but) ultimately it's Trump who decides whether the trade deal is on or off.”

Trump soothed nerves when he tweeted: “China trade deal is fully intact. Hopefully they will continue to live up to the terms of the agreement.”

In response, China's blue-chip index regained its losses to be last up 0.3 per cent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.7 per cent.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.1 per cent while Japan's Nikkei added 0.8 per cent.

Asian stocks have rallied hard since hitting a low in March amid worries about the jolt to the global economy from the coronavirus-driven shutdowns.

The gains have been driven by hefty central bank stimulus around the globe and gradual easing of restrictions, although worries about a second wave kept investors jittery.

Published on June 23, 2020

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