Singapore Markets open in 2 hrs 4 mins

Asia markets higher despite Trump's comments on trade

Eustance Huang

Asia markets saw gains on Wednesday, despite the White House's restatement of its tough stance on trade.

The Nikkei 225 recovered from its losses in the morning to end higher by 0.39 percent at 24,033.79. The Topix index , on the other hand, rose from its earlier low to close largely flat at 1,821.67.

Down Under, the ASX 200 pared some of its gains but still closed higher by 0.1 percent at 6,192.3, with major miner Rio Tinto advancing by 1.16 percent while BHP Billiton was higher by 1.17 percent.

In Greater China markets, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index traded higher by 1.24 percent as of 3:15 p.m. HK/SIN. Hotpot chain Haidilao , which went public on Wednesday, traded at 17.88 Hong Kong dollars per share as compared to its issue price of 17.80 Hong Kong dollars per share.

Over on the mainland, the Shanghai composite closed higher by 0.92 percent at around 2,806.82 while the Shenzhen composite advanced by 0.733 percent at about 1,447.85.

South Korean markets were closed for a public holiday.

Washington reiterates stance on trade

In market action on Wall Street overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined by 69.84 points to 26,492.21 while the S&P 500 ended the trading day 0.1 percent lower at 2,915.56. The Nasdaq Composite , however, saw a gain of 0.2 percent to 8,007.47 on the back of advances in Amazon and Apple shares.

On Tuesday, U.S President Donald Trump reiterated his administration's stance on trade, telling the United Nations General Assembly that his country would "no longer tolerate abuse" on that front.

Trump's statement came after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said his country was ready to move ahead on a trade deal with Mexico even if it excluded Canada, as negotiations with Ontario remained at an impasse. "We're not going to say 'no deal because of Canada.' That doesn't make any sense at all," he told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, was at 94.118 as of 3:25 p.m. HK/SIN, losing its earlier gains but still off yesterday's lows.

The Japanese yen saw gains of 0.16 percent at 112.79 against the dollar, while the Australian dollar lost some of its earlier gains but remained 0.17 percent higher at $0.7262, as of 3:28 p.m. HK/SIN.

In oil markets, prices saw a recovery in the afternoon of Asian trade. As of 3:29 p.m. HK/SIN, the global benchmark Brent crude futures contract was 0.27 percent higher at $82.09 per barrel while U.S. crude futures were largely flat at $72.30 per barrel.

On Tuesday, Trump told the U.N. General Assembly that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is " ripping off the rest of the world ."