Dec 13, 2019

US - China 'very close' to an agreement 

Asian stock markets rose on Friday as the US and China moved toward striking a trade deal to avert a new round of tariffs.

The deal could be announced later in the day, after US President Donald Trump reportedly signed off on the terms.

Washington is said to have agreed to remove some tariffs, while Beijing would boost purchases of US farm goods.

However, many of the more difficult issues are still to be addressed.

Optimism surrounding a trade deal pushed Asian markets higher, with Japan's Nikkei 225 index rising 2.3% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng put on 2%. The Shanghai Composite added 1.2%.

Earlier, US markets also gained ground with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closing at fresh record highs.

"It's a good starting point," Chamber of Commerce head of international affairs Myron Brilliant told broadcaster CNBC after meeting with White House officials.

A deal would deliver a victory to Mr Trump, who is under political pressure, with debate on his impeachment underway in the US Congress.

He tweeted on Thursday that the US and China were "very" close to an agreement.

"They want it and so do we!" he wrote.