March 4, 2019 / 8:27 AM / 9 months ago

Asian stocks' Jan-Feb rally biggest since 2012

March 4 (Reuters) - Asian stocks made their best two-month start to a year in seven years in January-February, amid growing signs that the United States and China are close to striking a trade deal.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares added over 8 percent in the first two months of this year, the biggest since 2012. In February, the index rose 1.3 percent.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to push back the March 1 tariff deadline and the progress in trade talks between the world’s top two economies boosted Asian markets last month.

At the end of last week, Trump said he had asked China to immediately remove all tariffs on U.S. agricultural products because trade talks were progressing well.

In February, Chinese equities led the gains in the region with a 13.8 percent rise, followed by Vietnam and Australia.

On the other hand, Pakistan and the Philippines were the biggest losers, declining 4.2 percent and 3.7 percent respectively.

Reporting by Gaurav Dogra and Patturaja Murugaboopathy Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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