Asia Rises as Yuan Hits 11-year Low

Stocks in Asia mostly gained on Thursday as Chinese customs data showed a surprise jump in the country’s July exports despite a protracted trade war with the United States.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan regained 76.79 points, or 0.4%, to 20.593.35,

The Japanese yen traded at 106.13 against the U.S. dollar after touching levels below 106 in the previous session.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index jumped 123.74 points, or 0.5%, to 26,120.77.

The Australian dollar was at $0.6771 after rising from lows below $0.6720 yesterday.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 recovered 47.86 points, or 1.3%, to 3,669.29.

Investors kept a close eye on the yuan, which crossed the psychologically important level of seven per U.S. dollar again, after the Chinese central bank set a midpoint reference that was the weakest in more than a decade.

The People’s Bank of China’s daily fix of the yuan midpoint was set at 7.0039 per dollar on Thursday — its weakest since April 2008. China’s central bank allows the exchange rate to rise or fall 2% from that number in what is also known as the onshore yuan, which last traded at 7.0441 against the greenback.

The Chinese yuan was under the spotlight earlier this week after it crossed a closely-watched seven barrier against the dollar, leading the U.S. Treasury Department to label China a currency manipulator.

The offshore yuan, used by foreign investors and banks, last traded at 7.0662 against the dollar.

Chinese customs data revealed exports for July rose unexpectedly, growing 3.3% on-year. Imports for the month fell 5.6% on-year, which left China with a trade surplus of $45.06 billion U.S. in July, compared to a $50.98-billion surplus in June

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index headed upward 10.9 points, or 0.6%, to 1,920.61

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index reversed 15.75 points, or 0.5%, to 3,168.94

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index heightened 108.31 points, or 1%, to 10,494.49

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 climbed 88.04 points, or 0.8%, to 10,874.30

In Australia, the ASX 200 added 48.69 points, or 0.8%, to 6,568.15