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 milling to make serious efforts to make structural changes.
Better-than-expected Chinese exports data also offered some support.
China’s Shanghai Composite index dropped 6.48 points or 0.23 percent to 2,831.18 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 0.16 percent to 28,525.
Chinese exports climbed 11.3 percent year-over-year in dollar terms in June, faster than the expected rise 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 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 Q3 profit on the back of brisk sales at its overseas Uniqlo stores.
The Nikkei average climbed 409.39 points or 1.85 percent to 22,597.35, its strongest close since June 21. For the week, the index jumped 3.7 percent, marking its biggest weekly gain since late March. The broader Topix index closed 1.19 percent higher at 1,730.07.
Fast Retailing, operator of Uniqlo clothing stores, jumped as much as 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