Asia stronger despite higher U.S.-China tensions

Asia markets were pretty much all in the green on Wednesday, as investors took an escalation of trade tensions between the U.S. and China in their stride.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 jumped 251.98, or 1.1%, to 23,672.52

The Bank of Japan kept its monetary policy steady and maintained an upbeat view on the economy. In its policy statement, the central bank said it expects Japan's economy to "continue its moderate expansion" and that domestic demand is likely to follow an uptrend.

The Japanese yen, which is considered a safe haven currency, traded at 112.33 to the U.S. dollar, weakening from levels below 111.6 in the previous week. Relative weakness in the yen likely saw major Japanese exporters trade up, with Toyota shares gaining 0.9%, Nissan up 1.2% and Honda adding 3%

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng popped 322.71, or 1.2%, to 27,407.37

In Australia, markets gathered momentum, as major mining stocks rose: shares of Rio Tinto surged 3.1%, Fortescue jumped 4.7% and BHP gained 2.9%.

The Australian dollar traded at $0.7250 U.S., strengthening from levels below $0.7120 in the previous week.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 surged 43.05 points, or 1.3%, to 3,312.48

Premier Li Keqiang addressed the World Economic Forum in Tianjinon Wednesday, where he acknowledged that China is confronted by a host of challenges and is facing "greater difficulties in keeping stable performance of the Chinese economy." But he insisted that China was comfortable with its economic situation, and that Beijing has prepared sufficient policy tools to boost the country's resilience in coping with various difficulties.

Li's comments followed an escalation in trade tensions between the United States and China.

China announced tariffs targeting more than 5,000 U.S. products — worth about $60 billion — will go into effect on Sept. 24. However, China will put a 10% tariff on some goods it had previously earmarked for a 20% levy. At the same time, China's commerce ministry said that it filed a complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the U.S

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times STI index resurfaced 37.23 points, or 1.2%, to 3,176.57

In Korea, the Kospi index removed 0.52 points to 2,308.46

In Taiwan, the Taiex index gained 97.06 points, or 0.9%, to 10,857.27

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 soared 29.29 points, or 0.3%, to 9,345.06

In Australia, the ASX 200 picked up 28.51 points, or 0.5%, to 6,189.96