World shares bounce, dollar edges lower as Biden-Xi call helps mood

LONDON/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Global shares rose and the dollar edged lower on Friday as news of a call between Xi Jinping and Joe Biden offered some relief to traders eyeing cautious central bank steps towards ending stimulus.

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The U.S. president and his Chinese counterpart spoke for 90 minutes in their first talks in seven months on Thursday, discussing the need to avoid letting competition between the world’s two largest economies veer into conflict.

That helped China shares rise 0.9%, giving a fillip to the region and lifting MSCI’s World index, its broadest gauge of global stock markets, up 0.2% in early European deals, ending a three-day losing streak.

Despite the gains, helped by a similar performance across Europe’s top markets, the index remains down 0.7% on the week and on course for its first drop in three, albeit hovering just 1% off a record high and up 92% since the lows of 2020.

U.S. stock futures pointed to a 0.3% high open on Wall Street later in the session.

Observers cautioned, however, against over-interpreting one telephone conversation as a sign of a broader rapprochement between China and the United States, whose relations are more strained that any time in decades.

“There were some small market moves after the news of the call, but it’s not a fundamental change – markets are still more concerned about Fed tapering and China regulation,” said Gary Ng, an economist at Natixis in Hong Kong.

The pace at which central banks, especially the U.S. Federal Reserve and European Central Bank, choose to trim their support to the economy remains the driving force of market sentiment.

Thursday’s move by the ECB to trim its bond purchases is expected to be followed by the Fed later this year according to some officials, despite a weak August labour report.

Against the broader risk-on backdrop, the greenback edged lower on Friday versus a basket of major peers but remained on course for its first weekly gain in three.

The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes, meanwhile, edged up in European hours to 1.3208% compared with its U.S. close of 1.3%.

Elsewhere in currencies, the pound was up 0.2% despite data showing the British economy slowed in July. The euro was up 0.1%.

Oil also gained ground on signs of tight U.S. supplies after Hurricane Ida hit offshore output, with Brent crude up 1.29% at $72.37 a barrel, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude at $68.95 a barrel, up 1.19%.

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