US-China partial trade deal, oil and currencies

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Asia Pacific markets traded cautiously on Tuesday, following the previous day’s rally, as new doubts emerged overnight about the partial U.S.-China trade deal.

In South Korea, the Kospi index closed fractionally higher at 2,068.17. Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 1.87% to 22,207.21 and the Topix index added 1.56% to 1,620.20 after Japanese markets were closed Monday for a public holiday.

Chinese mainland markets fell: The Shanghai composite slipped 0.56% to 2,991.05, the Shenzhen composite declined 1.1% to 1,641.94 and the Shenzhen component was down 1.17% to 9,671.73.

Pork prices in China jumped around 69% on-year in September due to ongoing shortage of the meat following an outbreak of African swine fever. Overall, the consumer price index was said to have increased 3% on-year last month while the producer price index fell by 1.2%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 0.11% in late-afternoon trade.

Australia’s ASX 200 wavered between fractional gains and losses to close up 0.14% at 6,652.The heavily weighted financial subindex reversed declines to trade up 0.29% while the energy sector fell 0.85% and materials was down 1%.

Overnight, stocks closed slightly lower on Wall Street and declined in major European markets.

“We have started the new week in a more cautious mood with the US-China trade vibes now starting to show some signs of friction,” Rodrigo Catril, senior foreign-exchange strategist at the National Australia Bank, wrote in a morning note. “China wants more talk time to iron out details and it also wants the tariff stick to go away, but overnight comments from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggests otherwise.”

Currencies and oil

The dollar index, which measures the U.S. dollar against a basket of its peers, traded at 98.345, falling from an earlier high of 98.486.

Elsewhere, the Japanese yen, which is seen as a safe-haven currency, changed hands at 108.37, weakening from an earlier high of 108.27.

The Australian dollar traded at $0.6770, falling from an earlier level of $0.6788. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s October policy meeting minutes were released, where the central bank left the door open for further rate cuts to “reach full employment and achieve the inflation target” over time.

Still, the RBA signaled its worry over rising house prices and said the situation required “close monitoring.” Earlier this month, the central bank slashed its cash rate by 25 basis points to a record low of 0.75%.

Oil prices traded lower on Tuesday afternoon during Asian hours. Global benchmark Brent was down 0.66% at $58.96 a barrel while U.S. crude futures were lower by 0.75% to $53.19.

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