Asian stocks hit a six-week high on Thursday on hopes for a thaw in U.S.-China trade frictions and expectations that the European Central Bank would kick off another wave of monetary easing by global central banks. Chinese stocks rose and the yuan hit a three-week high after U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to delay an additional increase in tariffs on Chinese goods by two weeks. Investors also await an ECB meeting later on Thursday to see how far policymakers will go to support a flagging economy.
Asian markets were mostly up in early trading Thursday as trade-war tensions eased. Nikkei rises 0.88% after Trump delays tariff hikes, but stocks in mainland China give up early gains and are trading at 0.3%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 0.34% after Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing made an unsolicited $36.6 billion bid to buy London Stock Exchange. Australian stocks rose by 0.19%.
U.S. stock futures jumped 0.42% and safe-havens such as the yen, U.S. Treasuries, and gold weakened in a sign of improving appetite for risk. The dollar briefly rose to a six-week high of 108.11 yen before paring gains slightly to trade up 0.17% at 108.04 yen. The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes rose to 1.747%, the highest in more than five weeks, extending a sell-off in government bonds that started on Sept. 4. Oil prices rose in Asia, rebounding from a tumble on Wednesday, on hopes OPEC members will cut output to support prices. U.S. crude ticked up 1% to $56.31 in Asia on Thursday. Futures tumbled more than 2% on Wednesday following a report that Trump is considering easing sanctions on Iran, which could potentially boost oil supplies. Gold prices were unchanged and stayed above the key $1,500 level ahead of the highly anticipated European Central Bank (ECB) meeting due later in the day. Spot gold is trading at $1504.95.