Asian markets bounced back Friday from the previous day’s losses, with talks between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping adding to the positive mood heading into the weekend.
Hong Kong led the advances thanks to healthy buying into tech firms that were battered Thursday by China’s latest clampdown on the gaming industry, but fears that authorities will crack the whip again continue to weigh on sentiment. And while Wall Street ended in the red again, there was some cheer from the European Central Bank as it tweaked its monetary stimulus programme, with boss Christine Lagarde saying the move was not a “tapering” but a “recalibration”.
But she did warn that “the speed of the recovery continues to depend on the course of the pandemic and progress with vaccinations”.
The move eased concerns about the end of the ultra-loose monetary policy that has been crucial to a recovery in economies and equities.
It also came as the Federal Reserve considers when it will start winding in its own scheme, with observers expecting it before the end of the year.
The day had already started on a positive note before news trickled in that Biden and Xi had held their first talks by phone since February, soon after the US president was inaugurated.
In the 90-minute call, Biden urged that “competition” between the world’s top two economies did not become “conflict”, according to the White House, while Xi called for a new direction in a relationship beset by “serious difficulties”.— AFP