File photo: EPA-EFE/David Chang

HONG KONG: Asian markets rose Monday, tracking another record on Wall Street as the US appeared to tone down its anti-China rhetoric, while traders turn their attention to a meeting of central bankers later in the week.

Hong Kong led the gains, boosted by tech giant Tencent after reports said the White House is looking to reassure US firms, they can still do business with the company’s WeChat messaging app in China, despite a crackdown on the service at home.

Donald Trump’s decision this month to impose sweeping restrictions against WeChat and TikTok, citing security concerns, ramped up tensions between the two superpowers that have been strained by various issues including coronavirus and Hong Kong.

The reports helped push the tech-heavy Nasdaq to yet another record on Friday, while the broader S&P 500 also reached a new high.

Hong Kong led gains across Asia, rallying 1.5 percent with traders also cheered by a pledge from China’s banking regulator that it would continue to back the city as a financial hub, after concerns were raised following the imposition of a new security law last month.

Shanghai put on 0.2 percent and Tokyo added 0.3 percent. Seoul piled on more than one percent while Sydney and Taipei each gained 0.3 percent. Mumbai, Singapore, Wellington and Bangkok were also in positive territory.

London, Paris and Frankfurt all opened more than one percent higher.

Buying was also boosted by news that Trump had expanded the use of a coronavirus treatment using plasma from people who had recovered from the disease.

“Not the Covid-19 cure all the world is hoping for, but it is another positive step to help patient recovery time and get people back on their feet quicker,” said AxiCorp’s Stephen Innes.

Investors will also be keeping an eye on this week’s virtual gathering of central bankers, hoping for some guidance on their plans for monetary policy after they provided a wall of cash to support the global economy — and stock markets — during the crisis.

The main attraction is a speech by Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell that is slated to take place on Thursday.

“More clarity will no doubt be sought via this week’s Jackson Hole symposium,” said Ben Emons, of Medley Global Advisors.

“Meanwhile, we expect the enforcement meeting to proceed smoothly within the next several weeks,” he said in reference to a review of the China-US trade pact.

Traders are also keeping tabs on Washington, where US lawmakers are struggling to reach an agreement on a fresh stimulus for the US economy.

“With the Republican party set to focus on their own national convention this week, following on from the Democrat convention last week, pressure is building on Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to come to an accommodation with Republicans on a new plan,” said Michael Hewson at CMC Markets.

Key figures around 0720 GMT

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.3 percent at 22,985.51 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 1.5 percent at 25,477.14

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.2 percent at 3,385.64 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 1.2 percent at 6,074.85

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1804 from $1.1795 at 2115 GMT on Friday

Dollar/yen: UP at 105.81 yen from 105.78 yen 

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3109 from $1.3087

Euro/pound: DOWN at 90.03 pence from 90.09 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.2 percent at $42.42 per barrel 

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.2 percent at $44.44 per barrel

New York – Dow: UP 0.7 percent at 27,930.33 points (close) – AFP/Bloomberg