Asian Shares Extend Gains After Chinese Data

Asian stocks extended gains from the previous session amid easing trade tensions after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. could reopen trade talks if Beijing was willing to make serious efforts to make structural changes. Better-than-expected Chinese export data also offered some support.

Chinese exports climbed 11.3 percent year-over-year in dollar terms in June, faster than the expected increase of 9.5 percent. Imports advanced 14.1 percent from a year ago, well below economists’ forecast for a growth of 21.3 percent.

The Chinese trade surplus totaled $41.61 billion in the month versus the expected surplus of $27.72 billion.

“There will be challenges facing foreign trade with rising instabilities and uncertainties in the global environment,” said a Chinese customs agency report.

Japanese shares rallied to post their best weekly gain since March as the dollar hit a fresh six-month high against the yen and heavyweight Fast Retailing posted record third quarter profits on the back of brisk sales at its overseas Uniqlo stores.

The Nikkei 225 Index surged up 409.39 points or 1.9 percent to 22,597.35. For the week, the index jumped 3.7 percent, marking its biggest weekly gain since late March. The broader Topix index closed 1.2 percent higher at 1,730.07.

Fast Retailing, operator of Uniqlo clothing stores, jumped 7 percent. Tech shares followed U.S. peers higher, with Tokyo Electron, Kyocera and Advantest rising 1-3 percent.

Australian shares finished little changed with a positive bias. While banks fell broadly on profit taking after recent sharp gains, a jump in Chinese iron ore futures and higher base metal prices helped lift material stocks. Healthcare shares also finished broadly higher.

Meanwhile, China’s Shanghai Composite index dipped 6.11 points or 0.2 percent to 2,831.55 after data showed China’s trade surplus with the United States swelled to a record in June, adding to fears the U.S. may increase tariffs on Chinese products. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index inched up 44.61 points or 0.2 percent to 28,525.44.

South Korea’s Kospi average rallied 1.1 percent to 2,310.90 after the country’s central bank maintained its key rate for the fifth straight meeting, as widely expected.

Policymakers said they would judge carefully whether it is necessary to adjust accommodative monetary policy stance further, while closely checking future economic growth and inflation trend.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX-50 index rose 38.72 points or 0.4 percent to
9,024.19 as trade tensions eased and a survey showed the manufacturing sector in New Zealand continued to expand in June, albeit at a slower pace.

The Taiwan Weighted jumped 1.1 percent, while benchmark indexes in India and Indonesia were up around 0.3 percent each.

Overnight, U.S. stocks rallied as earnings optimism helped investors shrugged off trade war fears. Consumer price inflation saw its largest annual gain since February 2012, keeping the Fed on track to raise interest rates gradually.

The Dow and the S&P 500 rose about 0.9 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.4 percent to reach a fresh record closing high.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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