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Asian Equities Extend Gains as Markets Recover from Trade War Fears

Asian equities extended rally in afternoon trade - Asian equities extended rally in afternoon trade on Wednesday as markets continued to recover from trade war fears.

Beijing announced on Tuesday retaliatory tariffs that targeted more than 5,000 U.S. products worth $60 billion. The new tariffs would take effect on Sep 24, China’s Ministry of Finance said in a statement. The country’s commerce ministry also filed a complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the U.S., according to reports.

The announcement seemed to have little impact on Asian stocks however, as major indices including Shanghai Composite and the Nikkei 225 jumped more than 1.5% in afternoon trade.

Markets also took comfort from the fact that the new U.S. tariffs were set at 10% for now rather than the previous expected 25% tariffs, according to analysts.

"It seems as though the markets had already priced that in after media reports that Trump is planning to introduce the new tariffs," said Shinichiro Kadota, senior strategist at Barclays.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 1.5%.

Shenzhen International Holdings Ltd (HK:0152) received some focus as the company announced it is set to increase its stakes in Shenzhen Expressway Co Ltd (HK:0548) by 2% for as much as RMB400 million (US$58 million), according to Expressway’s statement on Tuesday.

The transaction would be made via Shenzhen International’s subsidiary, according to the statement. The company owns 1.24 billion shares, or 51.52%, of Expressway before the acquisition.

Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei 225 traded 1.2% higher in afternoon trade, with a weaker yen cited as tailwind for local equities. The Bank of Japan (BOJ) concluded its meeting and kept its monetary policy steady as expected. The central bank also maintained its short-term interest rate target at minus 0.1% as expected. BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda will hold a news conference later in the day to explain the policy decision.

Down under, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 also rose 0.5%.

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