SINGAPORE, April 10 — Most South-east Asian stock markets crawled higher today as Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to open the country's economy further and lower import tariffs on products including cars, calming jitters over US-China trade tensions.
Xi also said China would raise the foreign ownership limit in the automobile sector “as soon as possible” and push previously announced measures to open the financial sector.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan recovered from early losses and climbed 0.8 per cent. US S&P 500 E-mini futures rose more than 1 per cent.
“With his speech, Xi is offering a solution to the Sino-US trade dispute,” said Yang Hai, strategist at Kaiyuan Securities.
“Xi's waving an olive branch, and the market is now waiting to see how the US side will play the card in response.”
Vietnam shares climbed 0.6 per cent to a fresh record before reversing course and trading lower.
Indonesian shares rose as much as 0.5 per cent, helped by financials, with Bank Central Asia Tbk PT up over 1 per cent.
The index of the country's 45 most liquid stocks rose 0.6 per cent.
Indonesian retail sales grew 1.5 per cent in February from a year earlier, supported by sales of clothing, a central bank survey showed yesterday.
Singapore shares rose 0.3 per cent to an over two-week high, led by financials.
Malaysian shares gained 0.4 per cent and were on track to gain for a fourth consecutive session, underpinned by an over 9 per cent gain in Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd.
Philippine shares climbed, reversing course after falling as much as 0.7 per cent earlier in the session.
“There is continued weakness in the Philippine peso and that has continued to pull down market sentiment,” said Manny Cruz, analyst at Asiasec Equities Inc.
Thai shares were largely flat with Central Pattana Pcl up 3.2 per cent to hit a near one-month high, while CP All Pcl shed 1.1 per cent. — Reuters