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Asian Equities Mixed; China To Expand Imports If U.S. “Meets Half-Way” On Trade

Asian stocks were mixed in afternoon trade – Asian stocks were mixed in afternoon trade on Thursday after the S&P 500 rose for a fourth consecutive day.

Gao Feng, spokesman for China’s Ministry of Commerce, said on Thursday that China is willing to boost imports from the U.S. if the two countries “meet half-way” in trade talks.

Speaking at a regular briefing in Beijing, Gao said that China and the U.S. had “deep and detailed” talks on agricultural and energy products, and that China does not wish to worsen trade tensions with the U.S.

His comments followed reports on Wednesday that China has offered to increase its buying of U.S. goods by about $25 billion this year.

China’s Shanghai Composite and Shenzhen Component traded 0.1% and 0.3% lower by 1:30AM ET (05:30 GMT), while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 0.5%.

Markets also look ahead to the Group of Seven meeting, which would be held on June 8 and 9 in Quebec, Canada. Trump would meet one-on-one with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron at the summit to discuss trade matters, according to reports.

Meanwhile, Macron reportedly urged the other members of the G7 to stand up to the U.S. over Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

The Nikkei 225 was up 0.9% in afternoon trade. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Trump on Thursday at the White House to discuss the planned U.S. summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un next week.

“I will discuss with the president about the issues of nuclear weapons and missiles, and most importantly the abduction issue,” Abe told reporters on Wednesday.

According to a list released by Japan, 17 of its citizens have been abducted by North Korea in the late 1970s and early 1980s. As of April 2017, more than 12 million people had signed petitions from the families urging Abe to step up efforts to bring the victims home.

Elsewhere, India’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time since 2014, as the Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to increase the repurchase rate to 6.25% from 6% on Wednesday.

Down under, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 traded 0.5% higher.

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