Asian markets rise as traders focus on the positives | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 21, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:58 AM, June 21, 2020

Asian markets rise as traders focus on the positives

Asian equities rose Friday as investors went into the weekend on an upbeat note, with an eye on the easing of lockdowns and mostly improving economic data, which offset geopolitical tensions and second wave worries.

Reports that China pledged to ramp up its purchase of US agricultural goods as part of its phase one trade deal also provided support to investors.

After three months of big gains across the planet -- fuelled by the reopening of economies as well as trillions of dollars in government and central bank support -- markets appear to be levelling out as investors await the next major catalyst, such as a vaccine. But, while countries continue to ease business and jobs-destroying containment measures the virus is spiking in several places including Beijing, Tokyo, Germany, Florida and Texas.

"Concerns over the spread of COVID-19 in some US states in particular where hospitalisation rates are rising, and also following the recent outbreak in Beijing, continue to cast something of a pall over markets," said Ray Attrill at National Australia Bank.

Adding to the unease are simmering tensions between the two Koreas as well as China and India following a deadly border skirmish this week in the Himalayas.

Donald Trump provided fresh uncertainty Thursday by tweeting that the US "certainly does maintain a policy option, under various conditions, of a complete decoupling from China. Thank you! "The message came a day after his trade representative and China hawk Robert Lighthizer told a congressional committee that China so far has been living up to the terms of a "phase one" agreement that eased the dispute, and that decoupling the two economic giants was now impossible.

While observers see it unlikely the superpowers would break off all economic activity, the comments were the latest volley from Trump over China as he aims for re-election in November.

However, Bloomberg News said Friday that Beijing planned to boost its imports of farm goods including soybeans and corn from the US, easing concerns about the trade pact signed in January, which had been called into question owing to rising tensions between the superpowers.

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