Asia Mostly Higher, Yuan Jumps

Major Asian stocks markets mostly closed higher on Wednesday, after U.S. President Donald Trump hinted once again that a closely watched trade deadline in March may be pushed back.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 128.84 points, or 0.6%, to 21,431.49, as shares of robot maker Fanuc advanced 0.3%.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.90 against the U.S. dollar after seeing an earlier high of 110.51.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng regained 285.92 points, or 1%, to 28,514.05. Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese investment bank China International Capital Corp jumped 5.8% after an exchange disclosure showed on Monday that tech behemoth Alibaba had increased its stake in the company to almost 12%.

The Australian dollar was at $0.7163 U.S. after bouncing from lows below $0.712 yesterday.

Copper prices advanced to their highest levels since last July. The metal's futures for March delivery rose to $2.8855 U.S. per pound early Wednesday, its highest level since early July 2018.

Copper is often viewed as a leading indicator of economic health because of its widespread use in various sectors. It is used in home construction and consumer products, as well as manufacturing.


In China, the CSI 300 restocked 12.32 points, or 0.4%, to 3,451.93

U.S. President Trump said Tuesday that trade talks with China are going well, adding the current March deadline is not a "magical date." Both countries have until then to come up with a deal. Otherwise, additional U.S. tariffs on Chinese products could take effect. Trump indicated last week, however, he would be willing to push back the deadline.

Also on Tuesday, Bloomberg News reported that the U.S. is requesting that China keep the yuan stable as part of the trade deal.

The move would be aimed at mediating any effort by the Chinese to devalue the yuan to counter American tariffs, people familiar with the situation told Bloomberg News. The Trump administration has insisted that moves to devalue the yuan to buoy Chinese exports would be countered with additional or more severe American tariffs.

The offshore Chinese yuan saw strong gains on the back of the report. It last traded at 6.7275 against the greenback, after seeing levels above 6.78 yesterday. The onshore Chinese yuan also gained to 6.7244 against the dollar.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index recovered 24.13 points, or 1.1%, to 2,229.76

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index restored 18.58 points, or 0.6%, to 3,278.38

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index jumped 120.2 points, or 1.2%, to 10,272.46

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 recouped 25.18 points, or 0.3%, to 9,249.44

In Australia, the ASX 200 lost 10.39 points, or 0.2%, to 6,096.49