Lifting of tariffs on China boost Asian stock markets 

Asian stocks advanced on Monday after United States President Joe Biden said he was considering lifting some Trump-era trade tariffs imposed on China, although concerns over inflation and growth weighed on sentiment, according to a report by Manila Times.

Tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese imports are due to expire in July, and Biden has faced growing calls to get rid of the punitive duties to help combat the highest US inflation in more than four decades.

Biden's comments during a visit to Tokyo on Monday come after US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen last week said some of the duties imposed by former president Donald Trump "seem to impose more harm on consumers and businesses" and do little to address real issues posed by the East Asian country.

The president also said a US recession was not inevitable, but acknowledged the economic pain felt by American consumers, saying "this is going to take some time."

Ending the tariffs could help cut roaring US inflation by making imports cheaper.

Biden also announced that 13 countries had joined a new, US-led Asia-Pacific trade framework, although there are questions about the pact's effectiveness.

Investors will be looking to Wednesday's release of notes from the latest Federal Reserve committee meeting for clues on further rate hikes by the US central bank.

Trade was cautious in Asia after Wall Street briefly dipped into a bear market last Friday, with the S&P 500 index down about 19 percent from its January high.

Tokyo closed 1 percent higher, while Shanghai ended flat. Hong Kong fell 1.2 percent and Singapore was down 0.6 percent. Most other Asian markets saw gains, with Seoul, Bangkok, Taipei and Mumbai in the green.

Sydney ended marginally higher following a weekend election that saw the center-left Labor party end a decade of conservative rule.

The new government of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is expected to undertake some policy shifts, particularly on climate change, but economists said they were unlikely to upset growth forecasts.

An interest rate cut by Beijing did little to cheer Chinese markets, with investors concerned about continuing Covid-19 restrictions that are hurting the world's second-largest economy and snarling international supply chains.

European markets opened higher despite lingering concerns over inflation, with London up 0.8 percent, Frankfurt 1.4 percent higher and Paris adding 0.7 percent.

Downcast earning reports from retailers have also heightened market uncertainty at a time of rising interest rates, surging energy prices and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which is driving commodity prices higher.

"As macroeconomic concerns stemming from aggressive monetary tightening, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and China's stringent Covid lockdowns persist, we anticipate great volatility in the market," Louise Dudley, portfolio manager global equities at Federated Hermes, said in a note, according to Bloomberg News.

Oil was higher, with the US crude benchmark West Texas Intermediate up 0.9 percent and Brent gaining 1 percent.

The invasion of Ukraine has shaken up the global market and the outlook for key producer Russia, which has been largely shunned by Western countries.

"Concerns over demand destruction appear to be limiting the upside, while threats of oil embargoes are keeping a floor under the downside," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.


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