Asian shares reach 8-month highs as US-China talks progress

Asian shares have paused near eight-month highs on Thursday, as investors keep their eyes peeled for updates on trade talks between the US and China.

Top US and Chinese officials have been reported to be moving closer to signing a deal, nudging bond yields higher globally and softening the safe-haven yen.

It also comes after MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan paused after reaching its highest since late August. Japan’s Nikkei was also flat to stay near a recent one-month top.

US-China trade talks boost global shares

According to Bloomberg reports on Thursday, the US intends to set a 2025 target for China to meet trade pledges. Risk sentiment was boosted this week off the back of the media reports.

As part of the target plan, China would commit to buy more US commodities, including soybeans and energy products, while also allowing full foreign ownership of US companies operating in China as a binding pledge.

It comes after reports on Wednesday in the Financial Times showed the US and China were closer to reaching a final trade agreement, according to FT sources.

World stocks also rose for a fifth session on Wednesday amid U.S.-China trade talks optimism.

Wall Street edged higher overnight, extending a strong start to the quarter. Chipmaker shares provided a boost to the broader market. The Dow rose 0.15%, while the S&P 500 gained 0.21% and the Nasdaq 0.6%.

Currency market moves

All the major currencies gained on the safe-haven yen with the Australian dollar touching a five-week high.

The greenback eased against a basket of currencies to $97.031, while the euro edged up to $1.1246 , reaching a two-week top on the yen at 125.45 .

Meanwhile, Sterling gained to $1.3179 off the back of Brexit progress, as prime minister Theresa May held talks with the opposition party.

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