December 3, 2018 / 1:49 AM / 10 days ago

RPT-WRAPUP 1-China shares surge, yuan stronger on suspension of trade hostilities

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SHANGHAI/HONG KONG, Dec 3 (Reuters) - China’s stock markets surged, bond futures fell and its currency strengthened in early trade on Monday after a closely watched meeting between Chinese and U.S. leaders produced a ceasefire in their countries’ bruising trade conflict.

The deal agreed to in Buenos Aires by China and the United States halts additional tariffs that were due to take effect on Jan. 1 and was lauded by both sides, though analysts caution that it represents a buying of time rather than a trade war resolution.

China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite index jumped 2.3 percent shortly after the open. Blue-chip shares gained 2.7 percent.

Shares in Hong Kong also jumped, with the Hang Seng index adding 2.5 percent and the China Enterprises Index jumping 2.9 percent.

The rally in shares drove government bond futures lower with the 10-year treasury futures for March delivery, the most-traded contract, falling 0.26 percent at the open.

The White House says Beijing agreed to buy an unspecified but “very substantial” amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products, and that China and the U.S. would launch new trade talks to address issues including technology transfer, intellectual property, non-tariff barriers, cyber theft and agriculture.

The White House also said the countries would hold additional talks, with an existing 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to be lifted to 25 percent if no deal was reached within 90 days.

China praised the “important consensus” reached in the deal, but did not mention the 90-day deadline.

Despite the differences in the wording of U.S. and Chinese statements and uncertainty about some the details, the deal is a better outcome than many investors had expected.

“It is a positive surprise to the RMB and the stock market, which has largely priced in the no-deal case,” Larry Hu, economist at Macquarie in Hong Kong.

China’s onshore yuan strengthened to 6.9260 per dollar at 0134 GMT after opening at 6.9278.

Its offshore counterpart also strengthened, and was trading at 6.9201 per dollar at 0133 GMT.

“The progress in the Sino-U.S. negotiations is slightly positive news for the market, and it will help revive risk appetite to support the yuan,” said Stephen Chiu, FX and rates strategist at China Construction Bank (Asia) in Hong Kong. He said he expects the yuan to rebound and trade in a range of 6.8 to 6.9 per dollar on Monday.

Reporting by Winni Zhou and Andrew Galbraith in SHANGHAI and Noah Sin in HONG KONG; Editing by Sam Holmes

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