Asian markets mostly rose Monday but investors were keeping a close eye on the China-US trade row after Donald Trump’s optimistic comments on a possible deal were offset by a war of words between his vice president and Xi Jinping. The mood across the region was a little calmer at the start of the week, providing some much-needed support after the volatility of seven days ago, with oil stabilising and the Federal Reserve tempering fears about its plans for interest rate hikes. US markets provided a positive lead after Trump said Friday that Beijing had made overtures toward resolving their trade war, meaning he might hold off imposing another round of tariffs. The president’s comments followed an indication from one of his top economics advisers that talks were under way ahead of a planned meeting at the G20 in Argentina at the end of this month. However, hopes for an early agreement were jolted by a spat at the weekend APEC meeting between Mike Pence and Xi over China’s economic and regional ambitions, with the US vice president mocking Beijing’s “constricting belt” and a “one-way road” initiative. Published in Daily Times, November 20th 2018.