Asian shares pick up on U.S.-China trade deal hopes

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian shares edged higher on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump said over the weekend that trade talks with China were moving along “very nicely”, though uncertainty remained over whether a deal would be signed this year.

FILE PHOTO: A passerby walks past in front of a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, May 10, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Japan’s Nikkei .N225 was up 0.2% to inch closer to a recent 13-month high. Australian shares rose 0.5% to a two-week high while South Korea’s KOSPI .KS11 was off 0.2%.

That left MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS 0.05% firmer at 534.63, testing a recent six-month peak.

Trump told reporters on Saturday that talks with China had moved more slowly than he would have liked, but added that Beijing wanted a deal more than he did.

That was a more upbeat tone than just a few days earlier when Trump stressed that the White House would not agree to a full rollback of existing tariffs, remarks that hit stock prices and the dollar.

“Despite his bluster that ‘China wants a trade deal more than I do’, markets sense that Trump is likely quite keen to call a truce on what is becoming a serious U.S. economic risk heading into the 2020 election year,” said David Bassanese, Sydney-based economist at Betashares.

By the close of Wall Street on Friday, optimism had returned to the market as investors bet that Washingon needs a deal and it is in the interests of China, too. All three major U.S. indexes eked out record closing highs.

The Dow .DJI inched up a tad while the S&P 500 .SPX climbed 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 0.5%. The record closing high by the S&P 500 was the fourth in

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