Australian shares reach four month highs on trade optimism

Australian shares soar on hopes the US and China trade wars could soon resolve

Australian shares on US-China trade optimism Source: Bloomberg

Australian shares soared to their highest in more than four months on Monday, strengthened by hopes US and China trade wars could resolve after positive trade talks.

The ASX 200 index rose 0.5% to 6,095.70 at time of writing with the benchmark ending higher on Friday.

Financial markets reacted to news that US and China negotiators were making progress after week-long high-level trade talks in Beijing.

Analysts say the gains were led by commodities and the rest of the sectors were held up on optimism that officials would reach a deal ahead of the March 1 deadline.

Last week, US president Donald Trump said on Friday that he may extend the March 1 deadline and keep tariffs on Chinese goods from rising. Trade tension optimism also upheld mining stocks, with China one of Australia's top trading partners.

Top miners BHP rose 1.5% while Rio Tinto climbed 2.1 %.

Oil prices touch highest in 2019

Oil prices reached some of their highest prices on Monday, touching to their highest level in 2019, amid OPEC-led supply cuts and US-imposed sanctions on Venezuela and Iran.

Santos Ltd and Oil Search were among the top gainers, up 1.9% and 2.2% on Monday.

US West Texas Intermediate WTI Crude futuress hit $56 per barrel for the first time in 2019, before edging back to $55.89 per barrel by mid-day on Monday.

International Brent crude futures hit a 2019-high of $66.61 per barrel early on Monday before easing to $66.47 per barrel.

Both WTI and International Brent benchmarks were their highest levels since November 2018.


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