Asian stocks register their best quarterly gain in 7 years

April 1 (Reuters) - Asian stocks continued their rally in March to post their best quarterly gain in 7 years, as optimism about a Sino-U.S. trade deal and dovish shifts in major central banks' monetary policies, propelled regional shares.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares rose about 9 percent in the first quarter of 2019, its biggest quarterly gain since March 2012. Last month, the index rose 0.7 percent.

Ongoing negotiations between the United States and China drove expectations that the two countries are inching towards a deal to end a tariff war that had rattled the markets over the past year.

On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump said that trade talks with China were going very well, but cautioned , he would not accept anything less than a "great deal", after the latest round of negotiations in Beijing.

Asian shares were also lifted in the past month by the U.S. Federal Reserve's dovish shift, abandoning projections for any interest rate hikes this year after raising rates four times in 2018, and the European Central Bank's pushing back its policy tightening plan to 2020.

In March, Indian equities led gains in the region with a 7.7 percent rise, followed by New Zealand and China. The rise in Indian equities' was their biggest monthly gain since March 2016.

On the flip side, Srilanka and Malaysia were the biggest losers, declining 4.45 percent and 3.75 percent respectively.

(Reporting by Gaurav Dogra and Patturaja Murugaboopathy Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

2019-04-01 10:44:47

© 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Thomson Reuters or its third party content providers. Any copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. "Reuters" and the Reuters Logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters and its affiliated companies.