The major Asia Pacific stock indexes are trading mostly higher on Wednesday, boosted by upbeat news regarding Brexit from the previous day. Brexit hopes were boosted by news that the European Union and United Kingdom were close to a deal. However, gains may have been limited by a warning from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday that the U.S.-China trade war will cut 2019 global growth to its slowest pace since the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
At 07:09 GMT, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index is trading 22472.92, up 265.71 or +1.20%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is at 26644.67, up 140.74 or +0.53% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index is trading 2082.83, up 14.66 or +0.71%.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index is trading 6736.50, up 84.50 or +1.27% and in China, the Shanghai Index is at 2976.77, down 14.28 or -0.48%.
Brexit Traders Eye Imminent Draft Deal
Asian shares were supported on Wednesday after optimistic comments on Brexit from European negotiator Michel Barnier were backed up by reports that a draft legal text over the divorce was being drawn up.
“Our team(s) are working hard, and work has just started now today, this work has been intense over the weekend and yesterday, because even if the agreement will be difficult, more and more difficult, to be frank, it is still possible this week,” Barnier told reporters in Luxembourg on Tuesday morning.
He added that “any agreement must work for everyone,” saying it is “high time to turn good intentions into a legal text.”
By mid-afternoon (Tuesday), one report suggested that a draft deal was in the works according to two separate sources familiar with negotiations.
IMF Says Trade War Will Cut Global Growth
The U.S.-China trade war will cut 2019 global growth to its slowest pace since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned on Tuesday, adding that the outlook could darken considerably if trade tensions remain unsolved.
The IMF said its latest World Economic Outlook projections show 2019 GDP growth at 3.0%, down from 3.2% in a July forecast, largely due to increasing fallout from global trade friction.
The World Economic Outlook report spells out in sharp detail the economic difficulties caused by the U.S.-China tariffs, including direct costs, market turmoil, reduced investment and lower productivity due to supply chain disruptions.
South Korea’s central bank cut its interest rate for the second time in three months on Wednesday, as expected, following its first cut in July.
In Australia, the listing of lender Latitude Financial, what was to be the biggest Australian IPO of the year, has been canceled, according to Reuters. The IPO was canceled because a large proportion of demand for shares was coming from hedge funds rather than desired long-term investors.
In New Zealand, the Reserve Bank signaled more rate cuts, or even unconventional stimulus measures, may be needed to counter global headwinds, as figures on Wednesday showed the country’s annual inflation rate slowed in the third quarter.
Inflation fell to 1.5% in the year to end-September from 1.7% previously, Statistics New Zealand said, moving further away from the central bank’s target, but slightly ahead of a 1.4% rise predicted in a Reuters poll of economists.