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  • Asian shares pause early December rally amid fears of fresh US-China tension.
  • China’s imports eased in November, Trump administration eyes further sanction on Beijing.
  • Australia forecasts upbeat agricultural exports despite tension with Beijing, South Korea battles virus.

Asian equities struggle to keep the previous upside momentum as the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine hopes combat the fears of the fresh tension between the world’s top two economies, namely the US and China. In doing so, upbeat signals concerning the virus vaccine and stimulus packages from the US and Japan seem to have been ignored amid a light calendar off-late.

That said, MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan drop 0.20% whereas Japan’s Nikkei 225 declines 0.50% ahead of Monday’s European session.

The US policymakers’ latest serious attention over the $908 billion covid aid package offered a mildly positive closing to Wall Street on late-Friday. However, the Japanese Prime Minister (PM) Yoshihide Suga’s readiness to decide further economic measures, in terms of more loans and reserve funds, couldn’t please Nikkei 225 buyers.

Elsewhere, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) upwardly revised its forecast for agricultural exports for the 2020/21 season, published via Reuters during early Monday. While the news might have helped ASX 200 to remain positive around 0.60% by press time, fears of the US-China tussle and downbeat performance by Chinese stocks weigh on the risk barometer.

China’s November month Trade Balance grew past-$53.5B expected to $75.42B but Imports eased from 6.1% forecast to 4.5% YoY. Further, Reuters came out with the news suggesting that the Trump administration is preparing new sanctions on at least a dozen Chinese officials over Beijing’s move to disqualify elected legislators in Hong Kong.

On a different page, South Korean President Moon Jae-in urges strengthening of coronavirus tracing measures, calling for the government to mobilize “every available” workforce amid the widespread increase in the pandemic cases at home. However, South Korea’s KOSPI prints mild gains.

Furthermore, Indonesia’s IDX Composite turns out to be the market leader with over 1.0% gains after receiving the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd.

Looking forward, a light calendar and year-end mood can keep the markets a little less active during the Asian session. However, key decisions over Brexit, US stimulus and vaccine releases may entertain the traders going forward.