SINGAPORE — Asia markets bounced on Monday morning as 15 economies in the region signed a deal that formed the world’s largest trade alliance. Australia, meanwhile, halted trading shortly after markets opened.
The trade deal, signed on Sunday, aims to gradually reduce tariffs across many areas, according to Reuters. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is now the world’s largest trade bloc, a deal that excludes the U.S. It marks the first time that East Asian powers China, Japan and South Korea are in a single trade agreement.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 1.59%, while the Topix was up 1.37%.
Japan’s economy rebounded sharply, growing an annualized 21.4% in the third quarter, data showed on Monday. On a quarterly basis, the economy grew 5%, better than forecasts of 4.4%, according to Reuters, and a sign that the country was recovering from the damage caused by the pandemic.
In South Korea, the Kospi rose 1.52%.
Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed in early trade. The Shanghai composite rose 0.36%, while the Shenzhen component was down 0.48%. In China, a set of economic data is due to be released, including industrial production and retail sales.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.43% in early trade. Casino and finance stocks listed in the city were going strong. Standard Chartered was up 3%, while HSBC bounced 2.8%.
Over in Australia, the Australian Securities Exchange halted stock trading shortly after the open, citing “market data issues.” The exchange said it is “working to rectify the issue as soon as possible.”
The S&P/ASX 200 had made gains in early trading, last jumping 1.23%.
Indian markets are closed due to a holiday. Overall, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.88%.
In a note on Monday morning, Mizuho Bank had called the giant trade agreement a “much-(needed) and overdue life-line for global trade.”
“The reach and ambitions of the RCEP, looking to abolish some 92% of traded goods tariffs, would be critical in deepening supply-chain linkages,” it said.
Autos, tech stocks soar
Japan’s exporters made major gains in the morning on the back of the trade deal news.
Autos in Japan mainly benefited, with Nissan rising 2.79%, and Mazda soaring 6%. Mitsubishi jumped more than 4%, and Honda gained 3.77%.
Tech stocks in the country also gained. Tokyo Electron jumped 5.45%, while Panasonic soared 5.25%. Softbank Group was up more than 1%.
Tech stocks listed in South Korea also jumped. Samsung Electronics was up 3.64% and SK Hynix rocketed more than 6%.
Vaccine, virus remain in focus in the U.S.
Over in the U.S., stock futures rose on Sunday night after the S&P 500 posted a record closing high on Friday and notched a one-week gain of 2.2%. The Dow rallied more than 4% last week and briefly hit an intraday record. The Nasdaq Composite lagged, however, sliding 0.6%.
Coronavirus cases stateside are surging again, with the U.S. reporting a record-high number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 on Friday. More states are rolling out fresh restrictions to slow the spread of the virus ahead of the holiday season.
“In the US virus cases and vaccine news remain front and centre together with any development on the likelihood of a fiscal stimulus package during the lame duck Congressional session,” Ray Attrill, head of foreign exchange strategy at the National Australia Bank wrote in a Monday note. “Vaccine news will also be watched closely with Moderna expected to report Phase 3 results and Pfizer/BioNTech potentially applying for an emergency use authorisation by the end of the week.”