Hopes of a trade deal between Washington and Beijing turned world stock markets and other risk assets higher on Friday.
Europe’s main bourses followed Asia and Wall Street higher [.EU] after White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said on Thursday that the U.S. and China were getting close to an agreement and were talking every day.
It kept alive hopes that MSCI’s 49-country world index and Europe’s STOXX 600 could both avoid their first weekly falls since the start of October, but others had little chance.
Emerging market stocks were down 1.7% for the week, while the violent escalation of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong left the Hang Seng down 4.7%, its worst weekly performance in four months.
Chinese blue-chip shares ended the day down 0.75% and 2.4%, their biggest fall since August, while fierce anti-government protests in Chile gave its currency its worst week since 2011 with a 7% plunge.
Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital in Sydney, likened regional markets’ bullish reaction to positive trade news to being in a relationship with an alcoholic, driven by entrenched hopes for recovery.
“Markets want to believe that there will be some sort of resolution to this issue, some sort of lasting truce at least, even though the experience of the last 18 months doesn’t give a lot of cause for comfort,” he said.
However, Oliver said weaker Chinese and U.S. economies as well as the U.S. presidential election next year put pressure on both sides to come to an agreement.
In currencies, the safe-haven yen weakened, with the dollar rising 0.17% to buy 108.57 yen. The euro was barely changed at $1.1023 and the dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals was off just 0.02% at 98.143.
Higher U.S. Treasury yields also illustrated the risk-on tone in the Asian session, with the 10-year yield rising to 1.848% from a US close of 1.815% on Thursday.
The policy-sensitive two-year yield rose to 1.6101% from 1.593% on Thursday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the risk of the U.S. economy facing a dramatic bust is remote.
A Reuters poll of more than 100 economists showed that while concerns have eased over a U.S. recession, few see an economic rebound, and most believe a trade truce is unlikely in the coming year.