The Australian share market declined on Friday, 08 November 2019, as investors digested recent developments on the U. S.-China trade front, with declines in resources stocks tracking weaker commodity prices overshadowed gains in the energy stocks. Around late afternoon, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index declined 18.63 points, or 0.28%, to 6,708, while the broader All Ordinaries shed 20.81 points, or 0.3%, to 6,816.10.
Gao Feng, a ministry spokesperson for China's Commerce Ministry, said on Thursday that Beijing and Washington had agreed to simultaneously cancel some existing tariffs on one another's goods that has crimped economic growth and roiled markets.
A spokesman for China's Ministry of Commerce told reporters these roll-backs could happen even before a "phase one" trade deal is signed. No timetable was indicated, but a phase one deal is widely expected to include a U. S. pledge to scrap tariffs scheduled for Dec. 15 on about $156 billion worth of Chinese imports, including cellphones, laptop computers and toys.
The US and China have imposed tariffs on each others' goods, worth billions of dollars worth of annual trade since last year. The duties have hurt trade, acting as a drag on the economies of both countries and putting pressure on their leaders to strike an agreement.
The International Monetary Fund estimated that the US-China trade war will shave almost a percentage point off of global growth this year.
Investors were also eyeing developments in Europe, after the European Central Bank issued an update on economic and monetary developments that predicted sluggish but positive economic growth in the second half of 2019.
Shares of materials companies declined on tracking weaker iron ore prices. Global miner BHP Group and Fortescue Metals Group traded marginally lower.
Gold stocks plunged as positive trade-related headlines overnight prompted investors to siphon money off the perceived safe-haven metal. Newcrest Mining, the country's largest gold producer and its smaller peer St Barbara dipped 4 per cent each.
Energy stocks gained on tracking overnight rally in oil prices. Woodside Petroleum advanced after the company on Friday raised its estimate for dry gas reserves at its Scarborough project. Santos and Oil Search strengthened 1.4 per cent and 0.8 per cent, respectively.
CURRENCY NEWS: The Australian dollar, sensitive to shifts in broader risk appetite, was up against greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6882 after seeing an earlier high of $0.6906.
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