Asian shares inch up in cautious mood over trade, lira stumbles

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By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian shares inched up in early trade on Tuesday, with investors cautious ahead of tense U.S.-China trade talks while the Turkish lira slipped over concerns about Ankara’s planned incursion in northern Syria.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.13% while Japan’s rose 0.53%.

Chinese markets will reopen after a one-week holiday. Hong Kong-listed ETFs linked to Shanghai 50 index have fallen 0.8% this period. Hong Kong was closed too on Monday.

Spending on retail goods and dining during China’s week-long National Day holidays returned to growth this year, offering unexpected respite to an economy that has been expanding at its weakest pace in almost three decades.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 lost 0.45% on Monday, unable to sustain gains made after positive tweets and news headlines about the trade talks.

“Given the importance of the event, markets will be extremely nervous. I expect things to stay this way for now. On the whole, markets are not that optimistic about the outlook,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management.

U.S. and Chinese deputy trade negotiators on Monday launched two days of talks aimed at paving the way later this week for the first minister-level negotiations in months.

But prospects for progress in U.S.-China trade talks dimmed after Washington blacklisted Chinese companies over Beijing’s treatment of predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities, and President Donald Trump said a quick trade deal was unlikely.

The talks are getting underway

ahead of a scheduled increase in U.S. tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, to 30% from 25% on Oct. 15.

Trump has said the tariff increase will take effect if no progress is made in the negotiations.

In the currency market, the biggest mover was the Turkish lira, which declined more than 2% on Monday over concerns about Ankara’s planned incursion in northern Syria.

Trump threatened to destroy Turkey’s economy if Ankara takes a planned military strike in Syria too far even though the U.S. leader himself has opened the door for a Turkish incursion.

The lira traded at 5.8375 per dollar, near its weakest level since Sept. 2.

Major currencies were more range-bound.

The euro stood at $1.0973, with its recovery from its 2-1/2-year low of $1.10879 hit a week ago meeting a strong resistance around $1.10.

The dollar traded at 107.24 yen, having found some support around 106.50 yen in the past few sessions.

Sterling traded at $1.2290, capped by concerns that sizeable differences between Britain and the European Union remained for striking a Brexit withdrawal deal.

The traded at 7.135 yuan per dollar, slightly stronger than just before China’s market holiday.

U.S. debt yields jumped back as $78 billion in note and bond supply slated for auction this week helped push prices lower after last week’s dramatic rise.

The 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield last stood at 1.563%.

Oil prices bounced back a tad from falls on Monday, but remained hobbled by trade uncertainties.

futures rose 0.34% to $58.55 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained 0.47% to $53.00 per barrel.