Asian shares were mostly higher Monday after a weekend of relative quiet over the escalating trade standoff between the U.S. and China. Investors appear optimistic about the outlook for the global economy despite punitive tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing on each other’s exports.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 1.2 percent to finish at 22,052.18. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.2 percent to 6,286.00, while South Korea’s KOSPI gained 0.5 percent to 2,285.80. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.7 percent to 28,788.77, while the Shanghai Composite index jumped 2.1 percent to 2,806.05. Shares were higher in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.
There were few developments over the weekend after Washington put a 25-percent tax on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports Friday and Beijing retaliated with taxes on an equal amount of U.S. products, including soybeans, pork and electric cars. The full impact of the measures may not be felt for some time, and there was little immediate reaction from investors who have known for weeks that the tariffs were due to take effect.
“The absence of further escalation as of yet offers Asian equity markets a further reprieve with upsides expected at the start of the week, though one would reckon the playoffs for the rest of the week remain dependent on the developments of the U.S.-China trade tensions,” said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG in Singapore.
A Labor Department report released Friday found U.S. employers added 213,000 jobs in June, suggesting that hiring remains brisk, although average hourly pay rose just 2.7 percent from a year earlier, which means that after adjusting for inflation wages remain nearly flat. The report nonetheless was seen as a sign the American economy remains healthy, a boon for Japan and other export-dependent countries in Asia.
Benchmark U.S. crude rose 26 cents to $74.06 a barrel. It gained 86 cents to settle at $73.80 per barrel in New York late Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 46 cents to $77.57 per barrel.
The dollar was nearly flat at 110.46 yen and the euro strengthened to $1.1767 from $1.1746.