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Asian Stocks Rise on Hopes of U.S.-China Trade Truce; Powell’s Speech in Focus

Investing.com - Asian stocks rose in morning trade on Wednesday as market sentiment was boosted by hopes for a thaw in the U.S.-China trade war.

U.S. National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said the White House was having "a lot of communication with the Chinese government at all levels" and that President Donald Trump thinks there is a “good possibility” the two countries could reach an agreement.

“We’re having now a lot of communication with the Chinese government at all levels,” Kudlow told reporters on Tuesday. “We were at a total standstill. Nothing was going on.”

“As you can imagine this is a big deal, this meeting -- the stakes are very high,” Kudlow said. “It’s an opportunity to turn a new page, a breakthrough. President Xi can step up and come up with some new ideas for us.”

Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are expected to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

In Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component were up 0.9% and 1.3% by 9:45 PM ET (02:45 GMT). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index also gained 0.9%.

Meanwhile, Trump renewed his criticism of the Federal Reserve and said he is “not even a little bit happy” with his selection of Jerome Powell. In an interview with the Washington Post, Trump said he thinks the U.S. central bank is "way off-base with what they're doing."

"I'm doing deals and I'm not being accommodated by the Fed," Trump told the Post. "They're making a mistake because I have a gut and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else's brain can ever tell me."

Powell is due to deliver a speech later in the day as markets look forward to hints on future rate hike paths.

“In our view, the likelihood that Powell will signal that the Fed is preparing to stop and take a timeout on rates is very low,” said Krishna Guha, head of global policy and central bank strategy at Evercore ISI. Guha added that the speech “may be the most consequential of his tenure to date.”

The speech, to be delivered shortly after noon ET at the Economic Club of New York, “will continue the process of softening the Fed’s message,” he said.

The Fed hiked rates three times this year and is expected to raise rates one more time. Trump has repeatedly argued these rate hikes were hurting the U.S. economy, and that the recent stock market sell-off and General Motors (NYSE:GM)' plans to close plants and cut more than 14,000 jobs were due to the Fed’s aggressive rate hike plans.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 traded 1.0% higher, and South Korea’s KOSPI inched up 0.1%.

Down under, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.1%.


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