US President Donald Trump also said top-level negotiators for both sides had held “very productive” talks by phone, while an official told AFP the president’s top trade representative would speak again to his opposite number in two weeks.
Trump said the decision was made to protect consumers heading into the holiday shopping season, with 10 percent levies on electronics goods – which were due on September 1 – put off until December 15.
“By the time December comes around the US will be less than one year away from the next presidential election, and Trump won’t want to be remembered as the Grinch,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK.
The news provided some much-needed respite for investors, who have come under intense pressure from a range of issues including concerns about the global economy, Hong Kong’s protests, the trade war and Brexit.
The Hang Seng Index snapped a three-day losing streak, rallying more than 400 points during early trading before retreating. It finished 20 points higher at 25,302.
Tech shares led the way. Sunny Optical surged 8.7 percent, Tencent rose 1.8 percent and AAC Technologies gained more than 1 percent.
Cathay Pacific, which had suffered big losses in recent sessions after it was told by the Civil Aviation Administration of China that staff participating in the ongoing protests would be banned from working on flights to the mainland, rallied 2.8 percent, while its parent Swire Pacific rebounded 3.9 percent.
Across the border, the blue-chip CSI300 index and the Shanghai Composite Index each ended 0.4 percent higher.
Across the region, Tokyo ended 1 percent higher and Seoul added 0.7 percent, Sydney put on 0.4 percent and Taipei put on 0.6 percent. There were also gains in Mumbai, Jakarta, Manila and Bangkok though Wellington and Singapore dipped.
High-yielding, riskier currencies also enjoyed some gains with the Mexican peso and South African rand, South Korea’s won and the Indonesian rupiah all posting strong gains.
The yuan, which has plunged in the past two weeks on worries about the trade stand-off – sparking accusations Beijing is a currency manipulator – also bounced.
The euro held its ground despite data showing the economy in Germany, the eurozone’s biggest economy, shrank in the second quarter.
However, gold – a key solace in times of turmoil and uncertainty – only fell slightly, which OANDA Asia-Pacific senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley said was telling.
“Given the stampede out of defensive positioning we saw everywhere else, this performance is doubly impressive and suggests that calmer heads will need a lot more evidence that a collision between the two supertankers of the world economy will be avoided,” he wrote.
Data showing US inflation rising more than expected also tempered hopes for another interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve this year. (additional reporting by AFP)