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Trade war

Chinese stocks rally after Beijing confirms top negotiator's US visit

Asian markets swing on speculation over trade talks

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, right, with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, center, and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Beijing on May 1. Liu is to travel to Washington later this week.   © AP

TOKYO -- Chinese stocks rebounded on Tuesday after Beijing said Vice Premier Liu He would visit Washington later this week, easing investor fears that a U.S. threat to hike tariffs would torpedo the countries' trade talks.

China's commerce ministry said Liu will visit the U.S. on Thursday and Friday at the invitation of senior American officials. The announcement fueled a late rally in Chinese shares, which had tumbled on Monday. The Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.7% higher while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.4%.

Indexes in Singapore and Indonesia also rebounded in early trading. But Japanese stocks fell on Tuesday ahead of the Chinese announcement, and the benchmark Nikkei 225 index ended the day 1.5% lower. It was the first trading session since April 26, following a string of national holidays extended to mark the accession of a new emperor.

Shares of industrial machinery companies with significant exposure to China, such as Komatsu and Fanuc, as well as shipping companies suffered steep declines in early trading.

The Japanese yen slightly rose from Monday, to around 110.6 per dollar.

The markets were rocky following comments by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington on Monday, in which he lamented "an erosion in commitments by China." On Sunday, President Donald Trump tweeted that the U.S. would impose additional tariffs on Chinese imports this Friday.

These developments dampened previously high hopes for a trade deal between the two countries and raised the specter of renewed global uncertainty. Chinese stocks plunged 5.6% on Monday as the news unfolded.

However, even before the announcement regarding Liu, some investors took hope from Beijing's signals that it wants to keep the talks on track.

U.S. stocks pared their losses on Monday afternoon after falling sharply in early trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day down 0.3%.

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