Hong Kong (CNN Business)Asian stocks moved higher on Tuesday ahead of the latest round of US-China trade talks later this week.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ( rose 0.4%. )
Japan’s Nikkei 225 ( and South Korea’s )Kospi ( gained 1.1% and 0.7%, respectively. )
China’s Commerce Ministry on Tuesday said Vice Premier Liu He, the country’s chief trade negotiator, will travel to Washington for the next round of trade discussions on Thursday and Friday.
Zhong Shan, the Commerce Minister, Yi Gang, the governor of China’s central bank, and Ning Jizhe, the deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, will also attend the talks.
The White House also mentioned in a release Monday that its lead negotiators — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer — will welcome Liu and his delegation. The two sides will discuss forced technology transfer, intellectual property rights and agriculture, among other issues.
A decision by the United States to put 28 Chinese entities on a blacklist may cast a shadow over the talks, though.
The US Department of Commerce on Monday attributed that decision to what it called “human rights violations and abuses” of Uyghurs and other predominately Muslim ethnic minorities in China’s far western region of Xinjiang.
A 2018 report from the US State Department estimated that China had “arbitrarily detained 800,000 to possibly more than two million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other Muslims in internment camps designed to erase religious and ethnic identities.”
Surveillance company Hikvision and its rival, Dahua Technology, were on the list. They both said Tuesday that they were aware of the US’ decision and would suspend trading of their shares. Hikvision and Dahua trade in Shenzhen.
IFlytek, a voice recognition software developer which also trades in Shenzhen, dropped 2% after it was also put on the list. The company said Tuesday that being blacklisted would not have “any big impact” on its operations.
“The move may fuel more tension between the two sides,” wrote economists at ING in a research note. “Although investors remain hopeful for at least some headway on trade.”
China’s economic data
China’s services sector grew at its weakest pace in seven months, according to private survey data released Tuesday by the media group Caixin and the research firm Markit.
The Caixin/Markit services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) dropped to 51.3 in September from 52.1 in August. That’s its lowest reading since February.
Caixin’s manufacturing PMI released last week showed more positive results, rising to a 19-month high. But analysts have warned that the Chinese economy is still under a lot of pressure.
Caixin/Markit also released a composite PMI survey that covered both manufacturing and services. That survey indicated an increase to 51.9 in September from 51.6 the previous month. That’s the index’s strongest rate of growth since April.
The economy showed signs of “marginal recovery” in September, said Zhengsheng Zhong, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group, in a statement accompanying the data. He pointed out that the labor market improved and domestic demand increased.
Still, business confidence dropped in the face of pressure from rising costs in labor and raw materials, as well as fluctuations in exchange rates, he added.
Other market moves today
Below are some other movements among Asian markets as of 1:30 p.m. HKT:
- Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest smartphone and chips manufacturer, rose 1.2% in Seoul after it reported that it expects operating profit to drop by less than what analysts predicted in the most recent quarter.
- Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, the city’s sole exchange operator, jumped 2.8% in Hong Kong after the company said it will drop its bid for the London Stock Exchange Group.