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Asia Markets Jan 16: US-China trade agreement

Asia Markets Jan 16: US-China trade agreement
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Asia markets saw muted gains on Thursday after the United States and China ended some uncertainties for the world economy by signing a partial trade agreement.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.12% to 23,944.73 after the first half-hour of trade while the Topix index was fractionally lower at 1,729.59.

In South Korea, the Kospi index traded flat, but tech giant Samsung Electronics advanced 1.19% while Hyundai Motor rose 3.91%.

Australia’s benchmark ASX 200 rose 0.49%, with most sectors trading up. The heavily-weighted financial subindex rose 0.75% as the country’s major banking stocks advanced.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed a partial trade deal with China on Wednesday that takes steps to root out several practices by Beijing that has irked the White House and members of Congress from both parties.

Those include intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers from U.S. firms in exchange for Chinese market access. The deal also details a $200 billion increase in Chinese purchases of U.S. goods over two years.

Still, some analysts say the agreement is ‘fragile’ and that more tariffs remain a possibility.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar last traded at 97.229 against a basket of currencies, coming off an earlier high of 97.440.

The off-shore Chinese yuan, traded outside the mainland and not as tightly controlled, changed hands at 6.8833 against the greenback, down from an earlier level of 6.8918.

Both the dollar and the off-shore yuan had “modest reactions” after the world’s two largest economies signed the phase one trade deal, according to Richard Grace, chief currency strategist and head of international economics at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “There are some medium-term implications that should drive (dollar/off-shore yuan) slightly higher.”

Elsewhere, the Japanese yen traded at 109.94 against the dollar, weakening from levels below 109.60 in the previous week. The Australian dollar was at $0.6913, advancing from an earlier low of $0.6899.

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