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US President Donald Trump also said trade talks were going "very well", and he was confident that both sides will come to an agreement.

Mr Trump had said on Sunday (Jan 6) that trade talks with China were going very well, noting that the weak Chinese economy was giving Beijing an incentive to negotiate and reach a deal.

Oil prices also rose by more than 1 percent, lifted by optimism that talks could soon resolve the trade war between the United States and China, while supply cuts by major producers also supported the market. I really think they want to.

China and the United States have in the past repeatedly traded barbs over what Washington says is Beijing's militarization of the South China Sea by building military installations on artificial islands and reefs. I think we will make a deal with China.

Mr Trump has imposed tariffs to pressure Beijing to change its practices on issues ranging from corporate espionage to market access and industrial subsidies.

On Monday, a U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer sailed near islands disputed between China, Vietnam, and Taiwan in the South China Sea.

U.S. commerce secretary Wilbur Ross predicted that the USA and Chinaare likely to reach a trade deal, as officials from both nations met for face-to-face talks in Beijingon Monday (New York time).

Beijing on Friday cut bank-reserve requirements amid slowing growth at home and pressure from the US tariffs.

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The two-day talks mark the first formal meeting since the pair agreed to refrain from any further tariffs for 90 days.

USA stocks were poised to open steady following Friday's bumper gains, with Dow futures up 0.1 percent and the broader S&P 500 futures pointing to a 0.1 percent fall.

Chinese state-run media also seem optimistic about the talks, though they continued to deny USA claims of widespread intellectual-property theft. Numerous practices the administration has objected to, such as subsidizing national champion businesses, are at the very heart of China's state-centric system of economic development. But it's resisting US demands for tougher action on technology transfers, and less state support for strategic industries like robotics and computer chips.

The two sides have to meet a deadline of March 1 to reach a deal, or otherwise the USA side may raise its 10 per cent tariffs on US$200 billion in Chinese goods to 25 per cent. President Xi Jinping responded by imposing penalties on $110 billion of American goods, slowing customs clearance for USA companies and suspending issuing licenses in finance and other businesses.

Mr. Trump has said the tariffs are bringing in billions to the Treasury, but economists point out that US consumers and companies are paying for the levies in the form of higher prices.

These working-level discussions are not expected to yield a concrete deal, but are a substantial step for both sides to check the progress of offers and demands before their top negotiators - Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer - can sit down to reach an agreement. The economy needs certainty.

A December 1 agreement postponed further tariff increases.

"Most firms expect the trade war to escalate", the bank said. In exchange, Trump agreed to put on hold a planned increase in tariffs on $200 billion (€175 billion) in imports from China.