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Asian markets quiet as investors shrug off the US-China trade deal — Asian market latest

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HSI) retreated 0.3%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 (N225) and South Korea’s Kospi (KOSPI) both moved marginally lower.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) briefly lost 0.3%, but later erased the losses and was last trading flat, but in positive territory.

The slump came after all four indexes jumped Friday on news that the United States and China had reached a “phase one” trade deal that rolled back some tariffs and led Washington to cancel another round of duties scheduled to take effect Sunday.

The Chinese government on Monday called the “phase one” deal a “positive,” adding that it will reduce market uncertainty, boost confidence and promote trade and economy development.

A spokesperson for China’s national statistical bureau made those remarks as the government released new data about the country’s economy. Retail sales grew 8% in November, better than the previous month and more than analysts expected, according to a Refinitiv forecast. Industrial output increased 6.2%, also better than expected.

The data indicates that China’s economic momentum picked up last month, wrote Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics for Oxford Economics, in a Monday report.

He said that China will continue to be challenged by “lackluster global growth,” and that there is still a “substantial” risk that the US-China relationship could deteriorate again.

But the fact that a trade truce was reached at all is “clearly a positive, and we expect it will have a favorable impact on sentiment and confidence in China,” Kujis said.

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Republicans shrug off impeachment hearings as ‘boring’

But as the televised testimony got underway, they adopted a new talking point: the hearings were just dull.

“This sham hearing is not only boring, it is a colossal waste of taxpayer time & money,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted.

The President’s son Eric echoed her.

“This is horribly boring…” he wrote on Twitter. “#Snoozefest.”

As lawmakers took a break midday — after learning an explosive new detail from top US diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor about Trump’s interest in the country investigating his political rivals — some Republicans said they couldn’t keep their eyes open.

“I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to stay awake and listen to all of this,” GOP Rep. Mark Meadows, a North Carolinian and a top Trump ally, told lawmakers.

Whether the hearing proves boring to the American people remains to be seen. Some Democrats have privately expressed concerns that the sheer volume of information — key players, dates and allegations — could prove confusing to the public.

Trump himself told reporters in the Oval Office he’d been too busy to watch the proceedings as they began earlier in the day.

“I did not watch it. I’m too busy to watch it,” he said. “It’s a witch hunt, it’s a hoax. I’m too busy to watch it. So I’m sure I’ll get a report.”

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