Asia pares steeper losses on trade developments

Asian shares slipped on Thursday, but pared some of the steeper losses seen earlier after China announced it was planning for a new round of trade talks with the United States.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 docked 12.18 points, or 0.1%, to 22,192.04, having traded both in and out of positive territory during the day. The benchmark had earlier lost more than 300 points.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng retreated a further 223.53 points, or 0.8%, to 27,100.04.

Following the release of disappointing quarterly earnings, shares of Tencent were down 4% extending recent losses. Profit for the quarter ending in June dipped 2% to 17.87 billion yuan ($2.59 billion U.S.), missing expectations. That was also the first decline in profit for the company in almost 13 years.

Korean markets slumped by the closing bell, their tech sector turning in a mixed performance after its U.S. counterparts came under pressure overnight. SK Hynix was among the major names affected, sliding 1.6% at the close, while Samsung Electronics saw a fall of 2% to end the day.

Elsewhere, Australian markets closed marginally lower, with energy and materials taking the biggest dips following a fall in commodity prices overnight.

The trade-related news was seen as a positive development, but market reaction was also tempered by other factors, such as broader concerns over U.S.-China trade ties, the stronger dollar and the slowing Chinese economy.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 lost 15.25 points, or 0.5%, to 3,276.73,

Beijing said it had accepted an invitation from the U.S. to take part in trade negotiations in late August. The country's vice commerce minister Wang Shouwen will lead the Chinese delegation in talks with U.S. officials. China's commerce ministry added that China was against unilateralism and protectionism, but was open to dialogue.

The offshore yuan recovered following news of the latest U.S.-China trade developments, last trading at 6.9001 to the U.S. dollar. That compared to the 6.95 handle touched overnight.

Before the market open, the People's Bank of China had set the official mid-point at 6.8946 per dollar, marking a sixth consecutive day of declines. The on-shore yuan last traded at 6.9056

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index returned from holiday to lose 18.11 points, or 0.8%, to 2,240.80

In Singapore, the Straits Times STI index doffed 22.19 points, or 0.7%, to 3,211.93

In Taiwan, the Taiex index tumbled 32.85 points, or 0.3%, to 10,683.90

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 gained 11.42 points, or 0.1%, to 8,998.91

In Australia, the ASX 200 subtracted 0.73 points to 6,328.29