HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian stocks outside of Japan advanced on Monday after China's central bank took steps to limit the yuan's depreciation, even as an escalation in trade tensions between the U.S. and China clouded sentiment.
The Nikkei Asia300 Index added 0.4% to 1,312.88 following a 2.1% drop last week. The onshore traded yuan rose as much as 0.5% against the dollar in early trade after the People's Bank of China on Friday raised the reserve requirement on foreign exchange forward positions to 20%, upping the cost of betting against the currency. Rising tensions between the U.S. and China have driven the currency down more than 8% since the end of March.
The unit gave up early gains to fall 0.2% to 6.8456 against the dollar by late afternoon in Asia.
"In the end, whether dollar/yuan rises to test the psychological 7-level depends on external factors, primarily on whether the U.S. dollar keeps pushing higher against the major and Asian currencies," Philip Wee, a foreign-exchange strategist at DBS Group Research, wrote in a note. "Generally, we see further U.S. dollar strength against emerging market currencies this year, as interest rate differentials, growth differentials, political uncertainty, and trade wars will likely continue to hurt emerging market sentiments."
Beijing on Friday said it will impose new tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods, following Washington's plans to raise proposed import tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25% from 10%.z
Electricity provider CLP Holdings rose 2.5% in Hong Kong after reporting a 25.8% increase in net profit for the first half to 7.44 billion Hong Kong dollars ($947.44 million. Revenue was up 7.2% to HK$46.46 billion.
Hang Seng Bank climbed 1.6% after saying its net profit grew 28.6% in the first half of 2018, thanks to higher net interest income. Net profit for the period came in at HK$12.65 billion, compared with HK$9.84 billion in the year-ago period, the lender said in an exchange filing. Net interest income rose 20.4% on-year to HK$14.23 billion.
Mainland property developer China Vanke fell 1.1% despite reporting a 27% year-over-year increase in contracted sales for July to 45.14 billion yuan ($6.59 billion). The property developer said it acquired 33 new projects and eight logistics property projects last month.
Internet company Tencent Holdings climbed 0.9%. Google is in talks with Tencent, Inspur Group and other Chinese companies to offer its cloud services in the mainland, South China Morning Post reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.
Shipbuilding conglomerate Keppel Corp. advanced 0.3% in Singapore. The company on Monday said its unit has entered an agreement with Australian retail-property company Vicinity Centres to establish an A$1 billion ($739.6 million) private fund. Separately, Keppel said it plans to buy a Chinese company which owns a 3.35-hectare plot at Chengdu from Sichuan Shengdai Food for 373 million yuan ($54.6 million) cash.
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. climbed 2% after reporting a 16% increase in April to June quarter net profit.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) fell 0.6% in Taipei after the chipmaker warned of a hit to its third-quarter revenue and delays to shipments after its factories were hurt by a computer virus over the weekend.
-- V. Phani Kumar