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Asian Indexes Mixed; Aussie Shares Hit Record High Led by Mining Stocks

Australian shares hit record highs on Tuesday, powered by gains in financial and mining sectors, as optimism over a planned signing of a preliminary Sino-U.S. trade deal lifted investor spirits.
James Hyerczyk
Asian Stock Indexes

The major Asia Pacific stock indexes are trading mixed early Tuesday as investors appetite for risk continued to improve ahead of the signing of the Phase One trade deal between the United States and China on Wednesday. Investor optimism was enhanced before the opening after Washington said late Monday that Beijing was no longer a currency manipulator.

At 04:07 GMT, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index is trading 23970.30, up 119.73 or +0.50%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is at 28899.90, down 55.04 or -0.19% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index is trading 2235.55, up 6.29 or +0.28%.

In China, the Shanghai Index is trading 3113.96, down 1.61 or -0.05% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index is at 6947.30, up 43.60 or +0.63%.

US Removes China from Currency Manipulator List Ahead of Trade Deal Signing

The United States removed China from a list of countries considered currency manipulators just two days before top trade negotiators for Washington and Beijing sign a key “phase one” trade deal, the Treasury Department announced Monday.

The decision to strike China from the currency manipulator list comes more than five months after the Treasury Department formally made the designation. China is now on a “monitoring list” for currency practices along with nine other countries, including Germany, Italy and Japan.

“The Treasury Department has helped secure a significant Phase One agreement with China that will lead to greater economic growth and opportunity for American workers and businesses,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “China has made enforceable commitments to refrain from competitive devaluation, while promoting transparency and accountability.”

China’s Dollar-Denominated Exports and Imports Beat Expectations in December

China’s dollar-denominated exports and imports were both higher in December, Reuters reported citing data from the General Administration of Customs.

In December, dollar-denominated exports rose 7.6% on-year, against a 1.3% drop in November.

December imports were 16.3% higher from a year ago, Reuters reported citing data from the Chinese customs.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected dollar-denominated exports to rise 3.2% on-year and imports to rise 9.6% in the same period.

December trade surplus was $46.79 billion, against an expected $48 billion.

In December, China’s trade surplus with the U.S. was $23.18 billion – down from $24.6 billion in November.

Australian Shares Hit Record Highs Ahead of Sino-US Trade Deal

Australian shares hit record highs on Tuesday, powered by gains in financial and mining sectors, as optimism over a planned signing of a preliminary Sino-U.S. trade deal lifted investor spirits.

Mining stocks climbed 1%, with iron ore miners dominating gains in the sector. Australian iron ore miners count China as a key destination for the export of the steelmaking commodity.

Australian financial stocks climbed 0.7% to their highest since December 17, 2019. The ‘Big Four’ banks gained between 0.1% and 1.1%.

S&P Global Ratings on Monday said it expects a modest increase in credit losses for larger Australian banks after damaging bushfires in the country, which have led analysts to downgrade growth forecasts for the year.

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