SHANGHAI- Asian shares moved higher as investors welcomed a trade agreement between Beijing and Washington over the weekend, but enthusiasm was capped by lingering scepticism about the deal and ongoing relations between China and the United States.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Sunday said a deal was “totally done”, notwithstanding some needed revisions, and would nearly double US exports to China over the next two years.
That helped push the MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan, which had touched its highest level since April 24 on Friday, up 0.27 percent.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 led the way as it jumped 1.24 percent, while shares in Taiwan and South Korea added about 0.1 percent.
But Chinese investors had a more tepid reaction, pulling the benchmark Shanghai Composite index down 0.16 percent as investors took profits following a 1.8 percent gain on Friday.
The small decline came despite data showing the country’s industrial output growth and retail sales jumped more than expected in November.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 also succumbed to profit-taking, easing 0.14 percent after surging 2.55 percent to a 14-month closing high on Friday.
The “phase one” agreement suspended a threatened round of US tariffs on a $160 billion list of Chinese imports that was scheduled to take effect on Sunday. The United States also agreed to halve the tariff rate, to 7.5 percent, on $120 billion worth of Chinese goods.
Ryan Felsman, senior economist at CommSec in Sydney, said the deal was a positive factor in the market, but investors awaited further details. The reduction in US tariffs may have also disappointed some investors looking for more aggressive action, he added.
“Certainly there were expectations perhaps that the rollback would be more significant than just 50 percent,” he said.
The 17-month-old trade dispute has between the world’s two largest economies has roiled financial markets and taken a toll on world economic growth. – Reuters