Bulls And Bears

Asian markets rally despite US-China spat

Gains across region underscore weariness over tit-for-tat tariff war

Locals shares headed north yesterday in line with markets across the region as investors took the tit-for-tat tariffs between the United States and China in their stride.

Nearly all regional bourses rose despite the US$60 billion (S$82 billion) in tariffs levelled by China on US goods, underscoring market weariness over the constant back and forth.

Singapore's Straits Times Index hit a two-week high after two days of decline, adding 37.23 points, or 1.19 per cent, to 3,176.57.

Gainers outnumbered losers 245 to 155 on turnover of 1.3 billion shares worth $988.4 million.

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei surged 1.08 per cent to an eight-month high with investor sentiment buoyed by a cheaper yen and Wall Street gains.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng shrugged off the effects of Typhoon Mangkhut and the trade war to rise 1.19 per cent to a two-week high.

Chinese mainland shares rose 1.3 per cent while the yuan also edged up after China said it would not engage in devaluing its currency.

"Bearish elements from trade have been priced in over the past few months," CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang said, adding that a "solid impact" of the US-China trade war on the Singapore economy has yet to be seen.

United Overseas Bank (UOB) said retaliation from China shows it is "not caving in to pressure from the US and is expected to counter US tariff measures blow by blow".

China's dispatch of its commerce vice-minister - instead of the vice-premier - to the US for trade talks this month also shows a "downgrade" in the seniority level of the discussions and their effectiveness, it added. It said the real impact of the tariffs would be felt more next year.

The most actively traded counter here was Rex International, with 116.83 million shares traded. It fell 5.26 per cent to 10.8 cents.

All three banks rose. DBS led the gains, up 1.21 per cent to $25.10, while OCBC Bank added 0.72 per cent to $11.12, and UOB rose 0.19 per cent to $25.98.

Developer Ho Bee Land added 2.03 per cent to $2.51 after announcing a management reshuffle as part of its succession plans.

Ascendas Hospitality Trust shrugged off a gas leak at its Pullman Sydney Hyde Park hotel to inch up 0.62 per cent to 80.5 cents.

Alliance Mineral Assets shed 5.66 per cent to 25 cents after saying it would put on hold plans to dual-list in Australia. Alliance and Australia-listed Tawana Resources had planned to merge and list on the Australian Securities Exchange.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2018, with the headline 'Asian markets rally despite US-China spat'. Print Edition | Subscribe