US President Donald Trump speaks at a press conference following the historic US-North Korea summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hailed their historic summit on June 12 as a breakthrough in relations between Cold War foes, but the agreement they produced was short on details about the key issue of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons.
SAUL LOEB / AFP
Asian, European stocks up after historic North Korea summit
(Agence France-Presse) - June 12, 2018 - 4:44pm

HONG KONG — Major markets in Asia and Europe rose Tuesday after Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un held a historic summit, while investors look ahead to key policy meetings at the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank this week.

Trump said he had formed a "special bond" with the North Korean leader, who reaffirmed his commitment to "complete denuclearisation of Korean Peninsula" in a joint agreement signed by the two.

While the meeting was not expected to see any immediate results, it has provided hope for peace on the Korean peninsula.

However, investors remain concerned about a possible global trade war after the weekend's Group of Seven summit in Canada ended with Trump withdrawing support for a joint communique and accusing host Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of being dishonest.

That came just after he had hit Canada, Mexico and the European Union with steel and aluminium tariffs, sparking threats of retaliation that some fear could escalate.

For most of the day eyes were on Singapore, where Trump and Kim became the first sitting leaders of their countries to meet.

The pair signed what Trump called a "pretty comprehensive" and "very important" document, which spoke of "new US-DPRK relations" and committed Washington to "security guarantees".

Kim said the two Cold War foes had vowed to "leave the past behind" and promised "the world will see a major change".

'Air of optimism'

Stocks fluctuated through the day but by the end of trade Tokyo was up 0.3 percent and Shanghai closed 0.9 percent higher. Hong Kong was 0.1 percent higher.

However, Seoul dipped 0.1 percent, while the Korean won eased 0.2 percent.

Singapore was slightly lower, as were Wellington, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei.

In early trade London and Paris each rose 0.3 percent, while Frankfurt gained 0.8 percent.

"After quickly shrugging off the G7 fight club in Quebec, investors latched on to the air of optimism circulating from the Singapore summit," said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA.

"And with pro-euro signals emanating from the newly formed Italian government placating investors anxiety about the future of the eurozone, the global risk was in the happy zone Monday."

However, Goohoon Kwon, co-head of Korea research and senior Asia economist at Goldman Sachs, told Bloomberg Television ahead of the signing that markets had already factored in a lower risk of conflict on the Korean peninsula.

He added that the "follow through, execution, implementation" of any agreements was most crucial.

While the Trump-Kim summit was the big news story, traders are keenly awaiting the Fed and ECB policy meetings. The US bank is expected to lift interest rates Wednesday but its post-meeting statement will be closely watched for a clue about its plans for future hikes.

Then on Thursday, European bank officials will likely debate for the first time cutting back on their crisis-era stimulus programme.

The euro extended gains after rallying Monday on the back of comments from new Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria ruling out Rome's exit from the single currency. That eased concerns about his populist, Eurosceptic government's intentions regarding the currency bloc.

The pound was also under pressure as British MPs prepare to vote on a string of amendments to key Brexit legislation that could force Prime Minister Theresa May's hand in talks with the European Union.

ASIAN STOCKS DONALD TRUMP EUROPEAN STOCKS KIM JONG UN TRUMP-KIM SUMMIT
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 19, 2018 - 2:18pm

The United States formally concluded that North Korea ordered the murder of Kim Jong-Nam, a half-brother and potential rival to ruler Kim Jong-Un, with the VX nerve agent.

"This public display of contempt for universal norms against chemical weapons use further demonstrates the reckless nature of North Korea and underscores that we cannot afford to tolerate a North Korean WMD program of any kind," US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

The finding triggered another layer of US economic sanctions against Pyongyang, just as South Korea reported that the regime is ready for talks to end a nuclear standoff.

June 19, 2018 - 2:18pm

South Korea says a joint military exercise scheduled with the U.S. has been suspended to support ongoing talks both countries have with North Korea, The Associated Press reports.

Defense Ministry spokeswoman Choi Hyun-soo said Tuesday that her government believes the decision will help maintain momentum in the talks.

She spoke after the U.S. and South Korea announced that the Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills slated for August have been called off.

June 14, 2018 - 2:00pm

South Korean President Moon Jae-in says South Koreans strongly support the outcome of the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and that bad reviews of the meeting were from people "isolated" from public thinking.

South Korea's presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom described Moon's comments from the president's meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday.

Pompeo said while in Seoul that Trump's tweet about North Korea no longer posing a nuclear threat was made "with eyes wide open."

Kim says Moon and Pompeo also agreed that Washington, Seoul and Pyongyang could collaborate on recovering the remains of soldiers missing and presumed dead from the 1950-53 Korean War. — AP

June 14, 2018 - 11:24am

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says there will be no sanctions relief for North Korea until it denuclearizes.

Pompeo is pushing back on a report from North Korean official state media that said President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un had agreed to a "step-by-step" process. That was interpreted as meaning the U.S. would grant concessions to North Korea concessions along the way despite longstanding U.S. insistence that it would not.

Pompeo says Trump has been "incredibly clear" about the sequencing of the process.

Speaking alongside Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers in Seoul, Pompeo says that "we're going to get denuclearization." He says that "only then will there be relief from the sanctions." — AP

June 14, 2018 - 8:54am

The rival Koreas are holding rare high-level military talks to discuss reducing tensions across their heavily fortified border following North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's summit with President Donald Trump.

It's possible North Korean officials during Thursday's talks will seek a firm commitment from the South on stopping military drills with the United States.

Trump said after his summit with Kim on Tuesday that the joint military exercises should stop. South Korea has said it's trying to discern Trump's meaning and intent.

Seoul's Defense Ministry says the military talks will focus on carrying out agreements from a summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in which they vowed to take steps to reduce military tensions and eliminate the danger of war.

They may also discuss efforts to recover the remains of Korean War soldiers. — AP

June 13, 2018 - 6:32pm

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has landed at Osan Air Base south of Seoul ahead of meetings with America's allies in the aftermath of the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

He's expected to meet privately in the evening with Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. Forces Korea.

Pompeo will meet President Moon Jae-in on Thursday morning to discuss the summit.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono is also heading to Seoul and is due to meet with Pompeo and his South Korean counterpart. Pompeo, the former CIA director, then plans to fly to Beijing to update the Chinese government on the talks. — AP

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