Asian markets enjoyed more gains Thursday as investors are cheered by the more conciliatory noises from China and the US on trade, while uncertainty over Brexit continued to pressure the pound. While the tariffs row between Beijing and Washington is far from being resolved, there is a lot more optimism on trading floors this week that the world’s top two economies can make headway in talks over the next three months.The latest buying queues came from a report that Beijing is considering replacing its “Made in China 2025” programme that aims to boost its technology sector, a key point in anger for Washington.The Wall Street Journal said authorities were looking at putting back the scheme’s timetable by a decade to concentrate on improving standards. That followed news China had agreed to resume importing soybeans — a major boost for US farmers — as well as remove a levy on US autos imposed earlier this year in response to Donald Trump’s initial tariffs.China’s technology concession “is far more relevant than China agreeing to restart purchases of American soybeans, or even reducing the tariff on US car imports”, said National Australia Bank strategist Ray Attrill. Canada’s release on bail of a top executive at Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, whose arrest had sparked fears of an adverse impact on the trade talks, also soothed worries.Dollar dipsAsian markets extended Wednesday’s gains, which helped reverse some of the huge losses suffered last week.Tokyo ended one percent higher and Hong Kong was 1.1 percent up in the afternoon. Shanghai surged 1.2 percent on hopes China will unveil monetary easing measures to coincide with the 40th anniversary of its economic awakening next week.Sydney edged 0.1 percent higher and Seoul was up 0.6 percent, while Singapore and Taipei each rose 0.4 percent. Wellington, Manila and Jakarta were also well in positive territory.The upbeat mood provided another lift to higher-yielding, riskier currencies, with the South African rand 1.6 percent up, while the Chinese yuan bounced 0.3 percent.Key figuresTokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.0 percent at 21,816.19 (close)Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 1.1 percent at 26,468.20Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.2 percent at 2,634.09 (close)Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2620 from $1.2629 at 2130 GMTEuro/dollar: UP at $1.1371 from $1.1365Dollar/yen: UP at 113.45 yen from 113.22Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 16 cents at $51.31 per barrelOil – Brent Crude: UP 28 cents at $60.43 per barrelNew York – Dow Jones: UP 0.6 percent at 24,527.27 (close)London – FTSE 100: UP 1.1 percent at 6,880.19 (close).Published in Daily Times, December 14th 2018.