Asian shares rallied today after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un offered to stop nuclear and missile testing and US President Donald Trump agreed to a meeting that could come before May. South Korea's national security adviser made the announcement at the White House, after delivering a letter from the North Korean leader. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.6 percent, while Australia firmed 0.4 percent.
Investors moods had already brightened a little after Trump pressed ahead with tariffs but offered conditional exemptions for Canada and Mexico, offering at least the hope that a full-blown global trade war could be averted. The White House said other countries could apply for exemptions on the 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent for aluminium, but details were sparse on when they might be granted and under what terms.
Several major trading partners have said they will respond with tariffs or direct action of their own.
Rising protectionism was a risk cited overnight by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi following the central bank's latest policy meeting. While the ECB did drop its easing bias as some expected, Draghi sounded in no rush to start unwinding stimulus.