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Asian Stocks Mixed; Japan CPI, China-U.S. Negotiation in Focus

Asian stocks were mixed in afternoon trade on Friday – Asian stocks were mixed in afternoon trade on Friday as investors digested news that China has offered U.S. President Donald Trump a $200 billion reduction in annual trade surplus. Japan's April CPI was also in focus as it missed forecast and fell short of 2% target set by the Bank of Japan.

A Trump administration official confirmed the offer by China was made during talks between the two nations in Washington. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He met with Trump Thursday and the sides are expected to continue trade discussions on Friday.

The news came after Trump said that China "has become very spoiled on trade".

“Will that be successful? I tend to doubt it,” Trump said during a press briefing on Thursday. “The reason I doubt it is because China’s become very spoiled.”

Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei 225 climbed 0.4% by 1:20AM ET (05:20 GMT) despite official data showed on Friday that consumer prices, excluding fresh food, were 0.7% higher than the same month a year earlier, well short of the 2% yearly target set by the Bank of Japan.

Toshiba Corp. (T:6502) made headlines after the company said in a statement that it received regulatory approval from China for the $18 billion sale of its memory chip business. The sale of the semiconductor business will take place on June 1.

China’s Shanghai Composite was up 0.3% but the Shenzhen Component slipped 0.4% in afternoon. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged up 0.2%.

Tensions with North Korea were cited as headwind for local equities after Trump said Chinese President Xi Jinping “could be influencing” Kim as North Korea shifted to a more negative tone this week and suspended talks with South Korea “indefinitely” on Wednesday, citing U.S.-South Korea military exercises as reasons.

“It could very well be that he’s influencing Kim Jong Un. We’ll see what happens. Meaning the President of China, President Xi, could be influencing,” Trump said.

South Korea’s KOSPI was up 0.3% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.2%.

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