Asia Mixed Ahead of Trade Talks

Asia markets were mixed on Monday as investors awaited a fresh round of U.S.-China trade negotiations expected to begin later this week.

The Nikkei 225 lost 34.95 points, or 0.2%, to 21,375.25. Shares of index heavyweight Fast Retailing, the company behind the Uniqlo chain of apparel stores, slipped 0.7%

The Japanese yen, often seen as a safe-haven currency in times of market turmoil, traded at 106.87 per U.S. dollar after strengthening from levels above 108 in the previous trading week.

Markets in Korea were flat, with shares of Hyundai Motor gaining 1.2%.

Markets in Asia had a muted reaction to the U.S. nonfarm payrolls data released last Friday.

Unemployment stateside touched a fresh 50-year low in September, though the non-farm payrolls rose by 136,000 — below the 145,000 jobs economists had predicted in Dow Jones survey.

Market expectation for a rate cut by the Federal Reserve at its upcoming October meeting was last at about 80%

Markets in mainland China, as well as those in Hong Kong, remained shuttered for holiday.

Ahead of this week’s trade talks between the world’s two largest economies, there were reports that Chinese officials are growing hesitant to pursue a broad trade deal with the U.S.

Principal-level trade negotiations between the United States and China are set to begin on Thursday in Washington. Trade tensions have risen recently after reports said U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is deliberating ways to limit American investors’ portfolio flows into China, which includes de-listing Chinese companies from U.S. stock exchanges.

Tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods are scheduled to rise to 30% on Oct. 15. Both countries have slapped tariffs on billions of dollars worth of each other’s goods, which has roiled global markets, created uncertainty and dampened economic growth outlooks around the world.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6752 following a rise from levels below $0.669 last week.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index nicked higher 1.04 points, or 0.1%, to 2,021.73

In Taiwan, the Taiex index gained 33.7 points, or 0.3%, to 10,928.18

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index regained 21.12 points, or 0.7%, to 3,099.48

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 jumped 82.8 points, or 0.8%, to 10,975.63

In Australia, the ASX 200 hiked 46.48 points, or 0.7%, to 6,583.56