KLCI spikes, ringgit strengthens as China, US agree to cancel tariffs

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 7): The FBM KLCI closed up 6.08 points or 0.38% at its intraday high as news on China and the US agreeing to cancel, in phases, tariffs on each other's goods spurred world share markets.

The ringgit strengthened with the yuan against such US-China trade sentiment.

At Bursa Malaysia, the KLCI closed at 1,609.33 at 5pm after a spike in the final trading hour. The sharp 11th hour rise in share prices of KLCI components including Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK) and Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd (HLFG) supported KLCI's spike.

The KLCI closed up at 1,609.33 after falling to its intraday low at 1,601.18.

At a glance across Asia, the KLCI's spike mirrored the jump seen in Hong Kong's Hang Seng. Reuters reported that Hong Kong stocks ended higher on Thursday as signs of progress in the China-US trade negotiations triggered a rally during the final 30 minutes of trading.

It was reported that the the Hang Seng index ended up 0.6% at 27,847.23, while the China Enterprises Index closed 0.7% higher at 10,935.89 points.

CNBC reported that China’s Commerce Ministry had agreed with the US to lift existing trade tariffs between the two nations in phases after their months-long trade war. The Ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying that the tariff cancellation was an important condition for a limited trade agreement and both the US and China must remove the same amount of charges at the same time.

“Fresh hopes of a 'phase one' trade agreement prompted US stock index futures to rally Thursday morning, with Dow futures poised to open up more than 120 points,” CNBC said.

In Malaysia today, Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd vice president of research Vincent Lau told theedgemarkets.com that the KLCI was boosted by positive market sentiment amid optimism over US-China trade talks.

He said Rakuten foresees "these positive sentiments to continue fueling the rally in the KLCI going forward".

From a technical viewpoint, Public Investment Bank Bhd technical analyst Lee Siao Ping said if the KLCI continues to hold above the 1,600 level tomorrow (Nov 8), this suggests that the KLCI will be in a "bullish turnaround" in the near term.

“Support can be found at 1,600 and 1,580. Conversely, resistance can be identified at 1,622 and 1,636,” he said.

Across Bursa, turnover stood at 2.62 billion shares worth RM1.895 billion. Top gainers included KLK and HLFG. KLK closed up 60 sen or 2.69% at RM22.92 while HLFG added 28 sen or 1.63% to RM17.48.

In currency markets, the ringgit strengthened to 4.1240 against the US dollar at the time of writing as the yuan appreciated against the US dollar.

Reuters reported that China's onshore and offshore yuan strengthened past the key 7 per dollar level on Thursday afternoon, driven up after the Commerce Ministry said both Beijing and Washington have agreed to cancel the additional tariffs imposed during their months-long trade war in different phases.

"Onshore yuan jumped to a high of 6.9840 at one point, the strongest level since Aug 2. It traded at 6.9908 as of 0752 GMT, when its offshore counterpart was changing hands at 6.9924. China's Commerce Ministry also said both sides must simultaneously cancel some existing tariffs on each other's goods to reach a 'phase one' trade deal," Reuters reported.