Asia Perks Amid U.S.-China Trade Talks

Stocks in Asia gained on Monday as investor sentiment picked up slightly amid a new round of trade negotiations between the United States and China in Beijing.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index regained 477.01 points, or 2.4%, to 20,038.97. Shares of automaker Toyota gained 3.2%

The Japanese yen, widely considered a safe-haven currency, traded at 108.10 against the U.S. dollar after seeing highs below 106 in the previous trading week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index added 209.67 points, or 0.8%, to 25,835.70. Shares of China Mobile rose 1.1% following Nomura’s upgrade of its rating to “buy” from “neutral,” citing the company’s strong position for the “imminent” next generation 5G wireless standard.

Korean stocks moved higher, as shares of steelmaker Dongbu Steel skyrocketed almost 30% after the company announced plans to issue new shares to draw new investment. Samsung shares rose 3.5%

Australian markets also gained ground, as most sectors saw gains. The materials subindex advanced 2.2%, as shares of major miners rose; Rio Tinto was up 2.7%, Fortescue Metals Group gained 3.3% and BHP Billiton jumped 3%.

The Australian dollar was at $0.7131 U.S., recovering from lows around the $0.68 level last week.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 tacked on 18.43 points, or 0.6%, to 3,054.30

Mainland Chinese markets, which are closely watched in relation to Beijing’s trade war with Washington, also rose on the day

The U.S. and China are holding vice ministerial level trade talks in Beijing today and tomorrow, according to the Chinese commerce ministry.

Reports said a working team led by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish will meet Chinese officials to have “positive and constructive discussions.”

For its part, China is willing to resolve its trade disputes with the U.S. on an equal footing, according to Lu Kang, spokesman at the Chinese foreign ministry.

The world’s two largest economies slapped a series of punitive tariffs on each other’s goods last year, sparking concerns over a global economic slowdown. The U.S. has already put tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods — and has threatened duties on double that value of products. Beijing has responded with tariffs on $110 billion in U.S. goods targeting politically important industries such as agriculture.

Monday’s talks will follow moves and comments from central banks in both the U.S. and China.

The People’s Bank of China cut the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) — the amount of cash that banks have to hold as reserves— by 1% last Friday in a bid to stimulate lending amid concerns over a slowing economy.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index vaulted 43.57 points, or 1.4%, to 3,102.80

In Korea, the Kospi index surged 26.85 points, or 1.3%, to 2,037.10

In Taiwan, the Taiex index resurfaced 207.79 points, or 2.2%, to 9,590.30

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 moved higher 62.28 points, or 0.7%, to 8,806.04

In Australia, the ASX 200 regained 63.83 points, or 1.1%, to 5,683.19