A woman walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. Shares have edged higher in Asia as U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin confirmed that China-U.S. trade talks were due to resume in two weeks’ time. The Shanghai Composite index rose 0.8% and shares also rose in Tokyo and Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

World shares edge higher as China-US trade talks planned

September 24, 2019 - 4:54 am

BANGKOK (AP) — World shares edged higher on Tuesday after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin confirmed that China-U.S. trade talks were due to resume in two weeks' time.

Germany's DAX was flat at 12,346.21, while the CAC 40 in Paris rose 0.2% to 5,641.93. Britain's FTSE 100 also edged 0.1% higher to 7,331.70. The future contracts for the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 picked up 0.2%.

Markets in China were steady after China's central bank governor said policy will stay "stable and healthy," suggesting Beijing has no plans to join the United States and Europe in cutting interest rates to stimulate economic growth.

Yi Gang said Tuesday the People's Bank of China will avoid a "massive stimulus."

Beijing is trying to counter cooling growth amid a tariff war with Washington but is wary of any steps that might add to debt levels that are so high that rating agencies have cut China's credit rating.

"I think mainland policymakers are more concerned about liquidity transmission. In other words, the most efficient means to get the cash in the hands of companies that will benefit the most from it rather than cutting interest rates aggressively," Stephen Innes of AxiTrader said in a commentary.

Mnuchin on Monday confirmed the trade negotiations were on track, saying he expected talks with China to resume the week of Oct. 7.

The Shanghai Composite index rose 0.3% to 2,985.34 while Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.1% to 22,098.84.

In Hong Kong the Hang Seng index gained 0.3% to 26,304.05 after Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam told reporters she hoped a "town hall" dialogue this week might be a step forward in the "long journey" to reconciliation after weeks of sometimes violent protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

In the latest of a slew of discouraging indicators, a preliminary manufacturers survey showed factory activity slowing in Japan last month.

The HIS Markit purchasing managers index fell to 48.9 in September from 49.3 in August, on a gauge where 50 marks the break between expansion and contraction.

It cited "strong external headwinds" for manufacturers, including the prolonged tariffs war between Beijing and Washington that has disrupted trade across the region.

Elsewhere in Asia, the Kospi in South Korea climbed 0.5% to 2,101.04 and Australia's S&P ASX 200 ended flat at 6,127.66. Shares fell in Taiwan and Indonesia but were higher in Singapore and Thailand. India's Sensex edged 0.1% lower to 39,066.25.

Meanwhile, oil prices and the energy sector could experience more volatility this week as Trump takes seeks a coalition to confront Iran, which the U.S. blames for last week's strike on a Saudi Arabian oil facility.

Benchmark crude oil lost 45 cents to settle at $58.19 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 55 cents on Monday to $58.64 per barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, declined 59 cents to $63.14 a barrel.

The dollar rose to 107.65 Japanese yen from 107.54 yen on Monday. The euro weakened to $1.0993 from $1.0994.

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