The pound climbed to near four-week highs on Tuesday on a report U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May could seek to delay a Brexit deadline while Asian shares paused at a five-month peak on signs Washington and Beijing were making progress on a trade deal.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan held near its highest since mid-September as U.S. and Chinese negotiators work to hammer out a deal that would end a tit-for-tat tariff battle that began in mid-2018.
Australian shares slipped 0.7 percent, weighed by energy stocks as oil prices tumbled overnight. South Korea’s KOSPI was flat while Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.2 percent.
Wall Street’s three major indexes ended higher on Monday but well below the session’s highs, with the Dow up 0.2 percent, the S&P 500 adding 0.1 percent and the Nasdaq gaining 0.4 percent.
In currency markets, with the risk-on mood dollar traded 111.23 against the safe haven Japanese yen, a level not seen since late December. The greenback was last at 111.06.
The dollar index was flat at 96.413 against a basket of currencies.
The euro idled at $1.1359, staying within the $1.1213/1.1570 range that it has held since mid-October.
In commodities, oil prices took a knock on Monday to post their largest daily percentage drop this year after Trump called on OPEC to ease its efforts to boost crude prices, which he said were “getting too high.”
U.S. crude was last up 2 cents at $55.5 a barrel in early Asian trading while Brent finished 3.5 percent lower on Monday at $64.76.