China’s currency strengthened and Asia-Pacific stocks breathed a sigh of relief after US President Donald Trump said he would delay an increase in tariffs on Chinese goods by two weeks in the latest sign of thawing trade tensions. 

Mr Trump said on Wednesday night that he would push back the starting date for higher tariffs on $250bn of Chinese goods to October 15 from October 1 following a request from China’s vice-premier. His announcement came after China made suspended tariffs on some US goods.

US and Chinese officials are expected to resume negotiations later this week or next week with high-level talks set for October.

China’s onshore renminbi, which is permitted to trade 2 per cent either side of a daily mid point set by the country’s central bank, strengthened 0.3 per cent against the dollar following the news. The offshore renminbi, which is not subject to the same restrictions, gained 0.2 per cent to a near three-week high.

Chinese stocks rose with the CSI 300 of Shanghai- and Shenzhen-listed stocks up 0.6 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng showed a more tepid response, rising just 0.1 per cent to sit at a six-week high. In Japan the Topix was up 0.8 per cent at a 4-month high while the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia gained 0.6 per cent.

So-called havens gold and the Japanese yen both retreated following Mr Trump’s tweets.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 notched its highest close since July on trade optimism and as investors expect the European Central Bank to cut rates and outline stimulus measures when it wraps up its meeting later on Thursday.

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