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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks buoyed by trade hopes, set for best weekly winning streak in half a year

Kitco News

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019
* Mnuchin reportedly discussed lifting tariffs on Chinese imports
* MSCI ACWI reaches highest since Dec. 12
* MSCI ACWI set for longest winning streak in six months
* European stocks rise; automakers and exporters gain

By Ritvik Carvalho

LONDON, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Global stocks rose to their highest in more than a month on Friday after a report suggested progress towards resolving the trade dispute between the United States and China.

European stocks rose to their highest since early December, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index up nearly 1 percent. Trade-exposed indexes and stocks gained the most, with autos rising 1.3 percent and Germany's exporter-heavy DAX up 0.7 percent.

The gains followed the lead of stocks in Asia overnight, which in turn took their cue from Wall Street's performance on Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin discussed lifting some or all tariffs imposed on Chinese imports and suggested offering a tariff rollback during trade discussions scheduled for Jan. 30. U.S. stocks rallied on the report but pared some of the gains after the Treasury denied Mnuchin had made any such recommendation. The Journal also reported that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer resisted Mnuchin's idea. E-mini futures for the S&P 500 0.3 percent higher on Friday. "The story was probably not as interesting as the headlines suggested, as the story states that the proposal comes from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (a China dove), while the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (China hawk) opposes the idea," strategists at Danske Bank wrote in a note to clients.

"Nonetheless, we still interpret the story as another sign that a US-China trade deal is moving closer and markets probably do as well."

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.55 percent. The index has gained 1.3 percent this week. The Shanghai Composite Index was up 1 percent.

Australian stocks rose 0.5 percent, South Korea's KOSPI advanced 0.6 percent and Japan's Nikkei gained more than 1 percent to a one-month high.

The gains across regions helped lift the MSCI All-Country World Index to its highest in more than a month. The index, which tracks stocks across 47 countries, was set for its fourth straight weekly gain, its longest weekly winning streak in six months.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit the United States on Jan. 30 and 31 for the latest round of trade talks aimed at resolving the dispute between the world's two largest economies. Indicators released recently showed signs that the Chinese economy is losing momentum.

A report due on Monday is expected to show China's fourth-quarter economic growth slowed to its weakest since the global financial crisis, according to a Reuters poll, as demand faltered at home and abroad. The dollar was supported after U.S. Treasury yields rose amid improved risk appetite. Against a basket of currencies, the dollar was set for its first weekly rise in five. The euro rose to $1.1398 after dipping overnight. It was on track for a weekly loss of 0.7 percent.

The 10-year Treasury yield stood at 2.766 percent, its highest in three weeks.

The pound was 0.3 percent lower at $1.2950, after climbing to a two-month peak of $1.3001 on hopes that Britain can avoid a no-deal Brexit.

British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a vote of confidence this week, removing some political uncertainty for now. The longer-term prospects for Britain and its markets remained far from clear, though. U.S. crude oil futures extended Thursday's gains, adding 0.8 percent to $52.49 per barrel. Brent crude was up 0.6 percent at $61.56 per barrel and on track to gain roughly 2 percent on the week.

Elsewhere in commodities, palladium was 1.5 percent higher at $1,417.00 an ounce after rising to an all-time high of $1,434.50 overnight.

Demand has recently outstripped supply for the metal, used in emissions-reducing catalytic converters for cars. Palladium also appeared to get a boost from hopes for further government stimulus in China, the world's biggest auto market. Spot gold was down 0.3 percent at $1,299.06 an ounce, after relinquishing its spot as the most expensive precious metal to palladium early in December.

(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho, additional reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro in Tokyo; editing by Larry King)

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