Asia stock confidence in trade truce has a number: USD325b

People walk by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo

Just how much is this 90-day truce worth in Asian stock markets? Roughly USD325 billion, yesterday at least.

That’s how much market value got added to companies in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index as the gauge rallied 2 percent. Asia stock bulls couldn’t have asked for a better start to December. The Shanghai Composite Index and Hang Seng Index both soared about 2.6 percent each, and the Topix closed 1.3 percent higher. Early action in the yuan also pointed to an optimistic response from investors.

In fact, the last time the Asian benchmark reached a jump like this was a month ago, on news that the leaders of the world’s two largest economies talked, with Donald Trump saying Xi Jinping wanted to make a deal to end the escalating trade war.

Fast forward to yesterday, and it looks like all’s well with global markets again after the U.S. agreed to postpone a planned tariff hike on Chinese goods for three months and China said it will boost purchases of farm and industrial goods to reduce the trade imbalance. Trump also said China has agreed to “reduce and remove” U.S. car import charges, while China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang declined to comment on any vehicle tariff changes. Futures contracts on the S&P 500 Index jumped 1.9 percent in the first minutes of trading and have stayed higher.

So, will investors see a solid rebound with four weeks left to the year? The jury’s still out. To some market players, including CMC Markets Singapore analyst Margaret Yang Yan, this temporary cease-fire could set up the year-end rally, given that emerging markets have been suppressed most of this year. UBS Group AG strategists led by Niall Macleod say China and Korea have the “greatest potential” to re-rate as these two countries previously have been discounted too much on bad news ranging from trade tension to economic growth.

But others are staying cautious. In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Mark Tinker, head of Framlington Equities Asia at AXA Investment Managers in Hong Kong, said while some short covering is possible in the near term, he’s still cautious to call a Santa rally as the trade war wasn’t the only thing on investors’ minds this year and the truce is more like the “removal of negatives rather than a huge positive.” He pointed to the U.S. dollar as a key factor to whether investors will rush back into the market. Moxy Ying, Bloomberg

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