Asian Shares Mostly Higher Ahead Of U.S.-China Trade Deal

Asian stocks ended broadly higher on Tuesday, although Chinese and Hong Kong markets fell ahead of the signing of a so-called phase one trade deal between the United States and China on Wednesday.

China’s yuan jumped and safe-haven assets slipped after the United States removed the currency manipulator label it imposed on China last summer.

Chinese shares slipped from a two-year high, showing a muted reaction to upbeat trade data. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 8.75 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,106.82, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged down 69.80 points, or 0.2 percent, to 28,885.14.

Official data showed China’s exports rose an annual 7.6 percent in December, marking the first gain in the country’s exports since July 2019 and the fastest growth rate since March 2019. At the same time, imports grew 16.3 percent from a year earlier.

Japanese shares advanced as traders returned to their desks after a public holiday on Monday. The Nikkei 225 Index climbed 174.60 points, or 0.7 percent, to 24,025.17. The broader Topix closed 0.3 percent higher at 1,740.53.

Exporters saw broad-based gains as the yen held near an eight-month low versus the dollar. Sony jumped 2.5 percent, Panasonic advanced 1.7 percent, Suzuki Motor gained 1.3 percent and Toyota Motor added 1 percent. Chip-related firm Shin-Etsu Chemical jumped 3.4 percent and Sumco rose 1.2 percent.

Market heavyweight Fast Retailing added 2.2 percent, Fanuc rose 1.2 percent and SoftBank Group soared 3.5 percent.

In economic news, Japan posted a current account surplus of 1,436.8 billion yen in November, up 75 percent from last year, data showed. That exceeded expectations for a surplus of 1,424.8 billion yen following the 1,816.8-billion-yen surplus in October.

Australian markets hit record highs, with financial and mining stocks leading the surge ahead of the signing of the U.S.-China trade

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