HONG KONG: Hong Kong led a rally in most Asian markets on Thursday after the US reached out to China in a fresh bid to avert a trade war, providing some much-needed respite to weary investors.
News that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had invited top Chinese officials for talks comes just under a week after Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on all $500 billion worth of imports from China.
The president’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow called the move a “positive thing” and added that “you could say that communication has picked up a notch”.
China’s commerce ministry on Thursday welcomed the offer and said the two sides were discussing details.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 2.5 percent, having fallen for six straight days and into a bear market, which is a 20 percent drop from its January record high.
Shanghai climbed 1.2 percent, Seoul gained 0.1 percent and Tokyo ended one percent higher.
Wellington, Taipei, and Manila were also higher, while Jakarta ran up 0.9 percent and Bangkok 1.6 percent. But Sydney fell 0.8 percent and Singapore eased 0.2 percent.
“Markets should welcome the news of possible resumption of high-level trade talks between China and the US,” said Tai Hui, JP Morgan Asset Management chief market strategist for Asia-Pacific.
“This may reflect strong feedback from the US corporate sector against further expansion of the list of Chinese exports that would be subjected to higher tariffs.”
However, while he said the latest round of threatened tariffs could be delayed, he said Beijing had already agreed to buy more American goods to reduce its gaping surplus with the US and open up the economy further, so it might not be able to offer much more.
“The road to a more sustained resolution is still challenging,” Tai added.
And Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA, said “the playbook remains unchanged and it would be a total surprise for many market participants if the Trump administration didn’t follow through” with the next round of tariffs.
The tariffs are clearly starting to hit US and European firms based in China.
On Thursday, the American Chamber of Commerce in China said a survey found most US companies are seeing rising costs, lower profits and tighter scrutiny, and a separate poll of 200 EU companies in the country showed 17 percent are delaying investment or expansion plans.
That comes a day after the Federal Reserve reported increasing fears across the United States about the trade row, with some businesses planning to curtail capital spending, while a new lobby group announced plans to campaign against the levies in November’s elections.
The optimism also supported emerging-market and high-yielding currencies battered by a flight to safe havens such as the dollar and Japanese yen.
South Africa’s rand rose 1.3 percent, the Russian ruble gained 0.8 percent and the Australian dollar jumped one percent. The South Korean won put on 0.6 percent while the Indonesian rupiah gained 0.3 percent.
Energy firms also climbed with investors keeping tabs on Hurricane Florence as it surges towards the US east coast, with the Carolinas and Georgia in its crosshairs.
Concerns about the massive destruction the storm is likely to cause have helped send oil prices higher, while a forecast-beating draw in US stockpiles added to the increase.
While both main contracts dipped slightly Thursday, Japanese energy firm Inpex piled on 3.7 percent, while in Hong Kong PetroChina soared more than five percent and CNOOC rallied almost four percent.
In early European trade London and Frankfurt each dipped 0.1 percent while Paris was flat.
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.0 percent at 22,821.32 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 2.5 percent at 27,014.49 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.2 percent at 2,686.58 (close)
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,307.64
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1618 from $1.1629 at 2100 GMT
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3037 from $1.3053
Dollar/yen: UP at 111.43 yen from 111.25 yen
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 48 cents at $69.89 per barrel
Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN 39 cents at $79.35 per barrel
New York – Dow Jones: UP 0.1 percent at 25,998.92 (close)
MAJU, Azerbaijan’s varsity sign MoU for academic cooperation
KARACHI: Mohammad Ali Jinnah University, Karachi (MAJU) and Khazar University, Baku, Azerbaijan have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for academic cooperation with each other.
MAJU Dean, Faculty of Life Sciences, Dr. Kamran Azim and Rector, Khizar University, Dr.Hassan Niknafs have signed MoU.
This agreement is based on the reciprocity principle and expresses the genuine interest of both universities in exchanging students, scholars, academic information and dual degree programs, said a statement here on Sunday.
As per MoU, MAJU and Khazar University besides exchanging students and faculty/ staff will encourage the development and implementation of visiting scholars/tutors, cultural exchange, cooperative /collaborative research projects, cooperative (joint and double) degree and joint summer programs at respective campuses. The term of this agreement shall be five academic years that is 2018 to 2023.
Both Universities will cooperate for short term training programs/ projects and service – learning programs, cooperative and exchange lecturing plans and lecture content, conferences and seminars, academic supervision of graduate /post-graduate students.
As per MoU in the event of students exchange, specific arrangement for payment of related expenses, including round-trip travel, board, lodging, tuition and health insurance will be agreed upon by both universities in advance.
Chinese industrialists to invest $400 m in Sindh
HYDERABAD: The industrialists belonging to China’s Chongqing Federation of Industry and Commerce will invest $400 million in several trade and industrial projects in Hyderabad and other parts of Sindh.
The federation’s representative Zhang Yang informed a press conference at the office of Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) here Sunday that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has already been signed in this regard. Yang informed that the MoU, which would last for 5 years, was signed between the Federation and HCCI in China in May this year.
He said under the MoU the investments would be made in steel, textile, and clothing, real estate, agriculture, tourism, education and training, municipal and solid waste disposal sectors. “We have declared Chongqing and Hyderabad as the friendly cities,” he told, adding that up to 34 industries and investors from Chongqing would make their investments in the joint ventures in Hyderabad and other cities of Sindh.
He told that the industrialists from the 2 cities had already maintained a promising cooperation in the industry. “We now want to further bolster the business ties in the steel, textile, real estate, and other sectors,” Yang said. He said Chongqing was a beautiful city in China and that it was home to the automobile and motorbike industry.
The Chinese businessmen said Hyderabad was a favorite place for investment where the Chinese industrialists intended to introduce advanced technology. He informed that Hyderabad was selected for the investment after HCCI submitted investment proposals to the federation. “This MoU is part of the CPEC as 34 Chinese companies will be making investments in various sectors,” former HCCI president Seth Goharullah said.
The HCCI’s vice president Ziauddin, who signed the MoU with his Chinese counterparts earlier in China, apprised that a formal agreement between the mayors of Chongqing and Hyderabad would be signed in October in Pakistan. He told that the Chinese delegations would visit Hyderabad and sign agreements with the local companies. According to him, a sub-office of the federation was also established in Hyderabad’s SITE area and it would also be inaugurated in October. The office bearers and members of HCCI were present on the occasion.
Maoist rebels kill India lawmaker: police
NEW DELHI: Maoist rebels were accused Sunday of assassinating a south Indian lawmaker and another former legislator in a brazen daytime ambush on their vehicle, police and media reports said.
Kidari Sarveswara Rao, a member of the ruling party in Andhra Pradesh state, was shot dead near the coastal city of Visakhapatnam in what police say was a targeted hit on the sitting legislator.
Former lawmaker S. Soma, who was accompanying Rao, was also gunned down in the attack blamed on Maoist fighters active in a forested belt of central and eastern India.
E. Naidu, a local police official, told AFP that Rao was on a Maoist “hit list” of powerful figures accused of having ties to bauxite miners in the mineral-rich state.
“There were some 30 Maoists in hiding. They attacked suddenly, giving no time for them (Rao and Soma) to react,” he said.
The Press Trust of India reported that a large group blocked the car and overpowered the bodyguards escorting the two officials, before turning their weapons on them.
It was the first such attack in many years in Andhra Pradesh, once a hotbed for insurgents fighting for what they say are the land rights of marginalized tribal communities.
Maoists are still active across thousands of square miles of central and eastern India known as the “Red Corridor”.
The insurgency began in West Bengal five decades ago when peasant farmers rose up against feudal landlords. Some 10,000 people have been killed since.