February 1, 2019 / 7:17 AM / 7 months ago

Asian stocks rise sharply in January on hopes over U.S.-China talks

Feb 1 (Reuters) - Asian stock markets registered sharp gains in January, after tumbling in 2018, bolstered by encouraging Sino-U.S. trade talks and expectations of a pause in Federal Reserve’s monetary tightening measures this year.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares gained 6.7 percent last month, its biggest monthly advance since March 2016.

Most Asian markets fell more than 20 percent from their January 2018 highs by the end of last year and technically entered bear territory as investors grappled with the escalating Sino-U.S. trade war, a stronger dollar and Turkeys’ economic issues.

But hopes of progress in current trade talks between China and the United States have bolstered Asian equities this month. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping soon to try to seal a comprehensive trade deal.

In January, Pakistani equities were the top gainers in the region, rising 10.9 percent in dollar terms, followed by Thai and Indonesian.

Reporting by Gaurav Dogra and Patturaja Murugaboopathy Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill

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