Stock traders are jubilant after a report that Mnuchin is mulling a lift of China tariffs

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesUS Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

  • Global markets climb after reports US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin discussed the possibility of lifting tariffs on Chinese imports.
  • Although such reports were denied by senior administration staff, markets took the reports at face value, and stocks rallied late on Thursday.
  • That rally has continued into Friday with some Chinese share indexes gaining more than 2% on the day. Stock indexes in Europe are up by as much as 1% in morning trade.
  • Follow the latest market movements at Markets Insider.

Stock markets around the world are bouncing Friday on renewed hopes that tensions between China and the US are thawing.

On Thursday evening, the Wall Street Journal reported that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had discussed the possibility of lifting some or all tariffs on Chinese imports with Robert Lighthizer, the US trade representative.

Such suggestions may be put forward during a new round of trade talks between Beijing and Washington at the end of January, the Journal reported.

“Talk of easing tensions were helping lift riskier assets,” Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group said in a morning email. “It seems almost impossible to sensibly gauge where US – China relations stand. Yet the market hangs on each headline, highlighting just how sensitive it is to the ongoing trade issue.”


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The report was denied by a spokesperson for Mnuchin, who said: “Neither Secretary Mnuchin nor Ambassador Lighthizer have made any recommendations to anyone with respect to tariffs or other parts of the negotiation with China.”

Markets, however, seemingly ignored the denial and focused on the WSJ report, with US stocks rallying into the close. That rally has continued into Friday with both Asian and European stocks climbing on the final day of the week.

Here’s how markets look just before 10.00 a.m. GMT (5.00 a.m. ET):

  • Chinese stocks rallied sharply during Friday trade with all major indexes on the mainland gaining more than 1%. Leading the way was the China A50, which ended the day up by 2.1%. Elsewhere, the Shanghai Composite was up 1.4%, while stocks on the Shenzhen Component index gained 1.5%.
  • Elsewhere in Asia stocks also climbed. Japan’s Nikkei ended 1.3% in positive territory, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 1.25% higher, and South Korea’s KOSPI was up 0.8%.
  • Moving to Europe, all major indexes are higher in the first hour or so of trade, with gains of as much as 1.15% on Spain’s IBEX 35. The Euro Stoxx 50 broad index is up just over 1%.
  • US futures point to another positive day stateside. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are set to open 0.25% higher, while the Dow Jones looks to gain 0.35%. US indexes closed around 0.7% higher on Thursday.

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