Asia stocks edge higher; growth, inflation fears check gains

Asian shares inched up on Tuesday morning as positive economic data and hints of easing Sino-US tensions offered some respite to the recent sell-offs, though persistent fears about a global recession and sky-high inflation kept most buyers at bay.

MSCI’s gauge of Asia Pacific stocks outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) was up 0.3%, having erased part of the early morning gains, reports Reuters.

The index has fallen 16% so far this year, as worries that central banks around the world will push economies into recession to break red-hot inflation have sent investors running for cover.

Offering brief respite to nervous markets was a report that U.S. president Joe Biden was leaning towards a decision on easing tariffs on goods from China as well as news Chinese vice premier Liu He had spoken to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, said Redmond Wong market strategist at Saxo Markets Hong Kong.

A survey showing China’s services activity at the fastest pace in almost a year also helped sentiment, he said.

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