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Nikkei Markets

Asian stocks gain on increased optimism over US-China trade

Trump's comments a deal is likely early next month boost sentiments

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan rose Monday amid increased optimism over trade relationship between the U.S. and China.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index of companies outside Japan rose 0.15% to 1,384.48.

After U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday reinforced expectations of the U.S. and China signing an interim deal early next month, analysts reflected on how far the limited agreement will go toward addressing the trade relationship between the two nations.

Trump commented said that a breakthrough had been achieved and an interim trade deal would be signed shortly, echoing suggestions by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier last week that an agreement would be signed next month.

Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG Asia, said that while the trade news flow remains supportive of Asian equities, concerns regarding feasibility and enforcement of the interim deal could be a source of concern heading into the next year. She specifically pointed to apprehension over how China would significantly increases the imports of U.S. agricultural products, which the interim deal requires.

Meanwhile, in a move that could possibly help future trade negotiations, China reportedly cut import tariffs on about 850 goods which included consumer items. Beijing said the tariff reductions aim to lower import costs.

In movers on the A300 on Monday, China Unicom (Hong Kong) fell 1.1% after saying it lost a net of 0.86 million mobile phone billing subscribers in November from a year earlier.

Index heavyweight Samsung Electronics slipped 0.9%, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing advanced 1.5%.

Thailand's benchmark equity index edged 0.04% higher. The country's central bank head reportedly said Monday that the policy rate could be cut further from the record low of 1.25% if the economic situation worsens more than expected.

--Nimesh Vora

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