US-China trade negotiations set to resume

Asia markets looked set to trade higher on Monday as investors awaited a fresh round of U.S.-China trade negotiations to begin later this week. Futures pointed to a higher open in Japan: Nikkei futures contract in Chicago traded at 21,475 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 21,520. The benchmark Nikkei 225 last closed at 21,410.20.Shares in Australia, meanwhile, edged up in early trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 trading 0.3% higher.US-China trade talks to resumePrincipal-level trade negotiations between the United States and China are set to begin on Thursday in Washington. Trade tensions have risen recently after reports said U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is deliberating ways to limit American investors’ portfolio flows into China, which includes delisting Chinese companies from U.S. stock exchanges. The outcome from this week’s trade discussions “will likely be pivotal in determining if the two sides can reach an interim trade deal that postpones further tariff escalation,” analysts at Eurasia Group wrote in a note last week. They said there is a 40% probability to an interim deal, and a 60% chance that Trump at least postpones further tariff hikes. Tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods are scheduled to rise to 30% on Oct. 15. “An interim deal at a minimum would include an agreement by Trump to delay further tariff increases and approve a subset of pending licenses for US suppliers to Huawei in exchange for China stepping up purchases of US agricultural products,” the Eurasia Group analysts added. Still, reports said that Chinese officials are growing hesitant to pursue a broad trade deal with the U.S. Asia-Pacific Market Indexes ChartMarket reaction to the release of U.S. nonfarm payrolls data last Friday will also be watched. Unemployment stateside touched a fresh 50-year low in September, though the nonfarm payrolls rose by 136,000 — below the 145,000 jobs economists had predicted in Dow Jones survey. “The US labour data helped remove some of the gloom around the US economy, as the report suggested that recent manufacturing sector woes were not spreading into the broader economy just yet,” Adelaide Timbrell from ANZ Research wrote in a Monday morning note. “Instead, September’s labour market data suggests that despite the softening suggested by business surveys, underlying economic momentum in the US remains strong,” Timbrell added. Markets in Hong Kong and China are closed on Monday for holidays.CurrenciesThe U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98.810 after declining from levels above 99.6 last week.The Japanese yen, often seen as a safe-haven currency in times of market turmoil, traded at 106.79 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 108 in the previous trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6763 following a rise from levels below $0.669 last week.What’s on tap:Taiwan: September trade data at 4:00 p.m. HK/SIN— Reuters contributed to this report.

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