Asian stock indexes headed higher on Monday and the dollar steadied despite lingering concerns about a trade war between the United States and China. Late Thursday U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to add another $100 billion of tariffs on Chinese imports, and Beijing responded on Friday that it was ready to respond with a “fierce counter strike” if these tariffs were implemented. Despite this war of words, the dollar remained stable during Monday’s Asian session. The dollar index held its place above the 90 level, trading at 90.11 as of 2:07 p.m. HK/SIN. The dollar was trading at 107.02 against the yen after falling steeply on Friday. The dollar also held its own against the euro, trading at $1.2277, inching away from the one-month low hit before last week’s non-farm payroll report.
All major Asian indexes were trading higher in the early afternoon, reversing the trend set by Wal Street on Friday when all three major indexes ended lower after being pressured by weak payroll data. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lead the pack, gaining 1.23 percent. The Nikkei 225 was up 0.59 percent and South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.48 percent. The ASX 200 and the Shanghai Composite were also in the green.
Oil prices also firmed on Monday after sinking nearly 2 percent on Friday. U.S. WTI was up 21 cents per barrel to $62.27 per barrel, a 0.34 percent rise. Brent crude futures were up 0.37 percent to $67.36 per barrel. Oil prices have been vulnerable to trade war concerns and have also been pressured by reports out of Syria claiming that the U.S. has struck an air force base there. The reports have yet to be confirmed by the White House. According to a report by Baker Hughes, the U.S. added 11 rigs last week, bringing the total to 808, the highest level since March 2015.