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Asian stocks are increasing in hopes of trade growth in the US and China

BEIJING – Shares in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo advanced Friday after investors had seen signs of possible progress towards settling the US and Chinese wage war.

POSITION: The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.7 percent to 2.578.73 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng got 1.1 percent to 27.039.00. Tokyo Nikkei 225 increased 1.3 percent to 20,622.24 and Seoul's Kospi advanced 0.5 percent to 2,188.29. Sydney's S&P ASX 200 was 0.5 percent higher at 5,881.00, and benchmarks in Taiwan, New Zealand and Southeast Asia also rose.

USA-CHINA TRADE: China announced its economy tsar, vice-premier Liu He, will go to Washington for talks Jan. 30-31[ads1] aimed at ending the tariff war triggered by US complaints about Beijing's technological ambitions. Business groups and economists were looking for Liu and his US counterpart, US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, to participate in talks as a sign of lower level negotiations earlier in Beijing made progress. Wall Street Journal reported Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was willing to roll back US fare increases on Chinese goods, even though Lighthizer and other officials said it did.

WALL STREET: Stocks climbed on trade optimism after the report Mnuchin can support a cut in US criminal law on Chinese imports. The technology, industrial and health care companies achieved and manufacturers of chemicals and other basic materials jumped. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.8 percent to 2,635.96. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.7 percent at 24,370.10. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.7 per cent to 7,084.46.

ANALYSIS COMMENT: Asian markets welcome "the latest indication of further US interest in resolving trade uncertainty in the US and China," said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report. "While skepticism can continue and concerns build on Chinese growth next week, the drive for intraday marketing is related to trade."

JAPAN INFLATION: Inflation in December came weaker than expected, temporarily set the central bank longer than the target of 2 percent. Prices rose 0.3 per cent, down from 0.8 per cent from November, when tumbler food costs offset an increase in energy prices.

ENERGY: Benchmark US crude 54 cents to $ 52.61 per barrel in electronic commerce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 24 cents on Thursday to close at $ 52.07. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 47 cents to $ 61.65 per barrel in London. It lost 14 cents last season to $ 61.18.

CURRENCY: The dollar went to 109.33 yen from Thursday's 109.24 yen. The euro received $ 1,1393 from $ 1,1388.

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