Asian markets swung throughout Friday as investors weighed China-US trade speculation, while the pound struggled to stage a strong recovery from the previous day’s Brexit-fuelled bruising. As a volatile week drew to a close, some stability emerged in the oil sector with earlier sharp losses tailing off, providing relief to regional energy firms. Hopes that the world’s top two economies are making efforts to resolve their painful tariffs standoff provided support to global markets, though conflicting reports were keeping any optimism in check. On Thursday it was reported that China had handed the US a number of trade concessions as part of a move to smooth relations ahead of a G20 summit where Donald Trump is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Financial Times also said the two sides were stepping up efforts and that US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had told business leaders the next round of tariffs would be put on hold. While Lighthizer’s office denied that, observers said the news still provided some hope. Published in Daily Times, November 17th 2018.