US-CHINA: Rumors of agreement raise Asian bourses

Asian stocks rose Monday after news reports said Washington and Beijing are close to reaching an agreement as early as this month to end their costly tariff war.

Shanghai, Tokyo, and Sydney stocks advanced after Bloomberg News and The Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified sources, said China was offering to ease tariffs and other restrictions on U.S. farm, chemical, auto, and other products. They said Washington would remove most sanctions on Chinese imports.

A deal might be completed in time to be signed by Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping this month, the reports said. But they cautioned the two sides still were negotiating on the issue that sparked the dispute: Chinese plans for state-led creation of global technology competitors that Washington, Europe and other trading partners say violate Beijing’s market-opening obligations.

The battle between the two biggest global economies has rattled global financial markets for months. Investors worry it will weigh on global economic growth that already is showing signs of slowing.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 3 percent to a nine-month high of 3,083.44. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 added 1.0 percent to 21,822.04.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.7 percent to 29,012.17 and Seoul’s Kospi lost 0.2 percent to 2,190.66. Sydney’s S&P-ASX gained 0.4 percent to 6,218.90.

New Zealand and Singapore advanced while Taiwan retreated. Indian markets were closed for a holiday.