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Asian Stocks Mixed as Trump Hints at Japan Trade War

Asian markets were mixed in morning trade on Friday - Asian markets were mixed in morning trade on Friday. The Nikkei 225 underperformed its regional peers as U.S. President Donald Trump hinted that he may take trade fights to Japan next.

Citing a phone call with Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. President "described his good relations with the Japanese leadership but then added: "Of course that will end as soon as I tell them how much they have to pay."

The yen rose while Japan’s stocks fell following the news. While not a directional driver, government data showed on Friday that Japanese workers' inflation-adjusted real wages rose 0.4% in July. The rise in earlier followed a revised 2.5% annual increase in June, which was the biggest gain in more than 21 years.

Meanwhile, trade negotiations between the U.S. and Canada remained in focus as the two sides are still trying to reach an agreement on the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The talks are still ongoing and could potentially last for weeks, according to reports.

China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component gained 0.9% and 1.4% respectively by 9:49PM ET (01:49 GMT). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index also rebounded 0.2% while traders remained anxious over reports which said the Trump administration could place tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods as soon as today. China's commerce ministry has said the country would retaliate if the U.S. imposes new tariffs.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s KOSPI was down 0.3%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 traded 0.8% lower in morning trade.

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