Asia markets cautious as traders look for potential trade deal

Asian markets seesawed on Monday as traders cautiously await the progress on a trade deal before the December 15 deadline for a new round of US tariffs on Chinese goods.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.3%. The market also got a boost after Japan revised its gross domestic product growth to an annualized 1.8% for the third quarter, compared with the initial estimate of 0.2%.

South Korea’s Kospi also gained 0.3%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng opened slightly higher, but then bounced between small gains and losses. The benchmark closed flat.

China’s Shanghai Composite also seesawed and briefly slipped 0.2%. It then reversed losses and finished up 0.1%.

Jingyi Pan, a market strategist for IG Group, said traders are closely watching to see whether US and Chinese negotiators can strike a trade deal before December 15, when a new round of American tariffs are set to take effect on around $160 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The latest Chinese trade data also suggests it’s more urgent for Beijing to ink a deal with Washington in order to ease economic pressure, she added.

China’s exports dropped by a worse-than-expected 1.1% in November from a year prior, marking a fourth straight month of decline, according to government data released on Sunday. That was mainly because shipments to the United States plunged 23%, as the long-running trade war continues to hurt Chinese exporters.

Imports rose 0.3% from a year earlier — the first increase since April.

CNN’s Junko Ogura in Tokyo contributed to the report.