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Asian Equities Rise; China CPI, PPI In Focus

Asian stocks climbed in morning trade – Asian stocks climbed in morning trade on Thursday following a positive session on Wall Street, while China’s April consumer price index (CPI) and producer price index (PPI) data received some attention.

China’s April consumer price index (CPI) cooled to 1.8% from a year earlier, official data showed on Thursday, slightly lower than economists’ forecasts of 1.9% from a year earlier and the 2.1% gain seen in March.

Meanwhile, the producer price index (PPI) jumped 3.4% from a year earlier, accelerating from the previous month’s rise of 3.1% but slightly lower than the expected 3.5%.

U.S.-China trade relations remained in focus as China's commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said on Thursday that the country's stance in the ongoing bilateral trade negotiations with the U.S. will not change. Beijing officials are scheduled to visit Washington “at an appropriate time” for next round of talks, reports suggested.

China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component were both up 0.1% by 1:30AM ET (05:30 GMT). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 0.8%. Wu Xiaohui, former chairman of Anbang Insurance Group was sentenced to 18 years in prison, China's state media Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.

Energy shares led the gain in Asia after U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out from the Iran nuclear deal. Crude oil prices reached 3-1/2 year highs following the news as investors bet the development would intensify tension in the Middle East and curtail oil supply.

Telecommunications gear maker ZTE Corp. made headlines after it said it has halted major operating activities after U.S. authorities imposed a ban on the company’s ability to buy components from U.S. suppliers.

Trading in the company’s shares has been suspended since the imposition of the ban last month.

An unexpected win by Mahathir Mohamad in Malaysia’s election raised some eyebrows, as it marked the end of the six-decade rule of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s party in a landmark shift for the Southeast Asian nation.

Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei 225 edged up 0.2%, while Australia’s ASX climbed 0.2% and South Korea’s KOSPI gained 0.5%. Samsung Group was put under spotlight after South Korea's antitrust chief said on Thursday the company’s current ownership structure is not sustainable.

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