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Asia shares firm as Trump agrees to meet North Korea leader

Reuters  |  SYDNEY 

By Wayne Cole

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian shares rallied and the safe-haven yen eased on Friday after North Korean leader offered to stop nuclear and missile testing and U.S. agreed to a meeting that could come before May.

South Korea's made the announcement at the White House, after delivering a letter from Kim. Trump's aides have been wary of North Korea's diplomatic overtures because of its history of reneging on international commitments.

Indeed, an air of caution set in as the day progressed and investors booked profits on the sharp early gains.

Japan's Nikkei was last 0.9 percent firmer, having been up more than 2 percent at one stage. South Korean stocks were still 1.5 percent higher and enjoying one of their best days since May.

MSCI's broadest index of shares outside rose 0.6 percent, while firmed 0.4 percent.

E-Mini futures for the went flat as investors looked ahead to U.S. payrolls data later in the session.

The mood had already brightened a little after Trump pressed ahead with tariffs but offered conditional exemptions for and Mexico, offering at least the hope that a full-blown global trade war could be averted.

The said other countries could apply for exemptions on the 25 percent tariff on and 10 percent for aluminium, but details were sparse on when they might be granted and under what terms.

Several major trading partners have said they will respond with tariffs or direct action of their own.

"Markets have cheered up a little but exclusions are likely to come with caveats demanding reciprocity - that's the kind of guy the is," said Greg McKenna, at

"Fears have been eased in the immediate term, but it's clear that China, and to a lesser extent the EU, is about to come in for greater scrutiny."

The Canadian dollar and Mexican peso inched higher, though both countries remain locked in tough negotiations with the over NAFTA.

Rising protectionism was a risk cited overnight by following the central bank's latest policy meeting.

While the ECB did drop its easing bias as some expected, Draghi sounded in no rush to start unwinding stimulus.

BOJ STICKS WITH STIMULUS

The dovish tone was enough to see the euro fade back to $1.2306, having shed 0.8 percent on Thursday. That helped the U.S. dollar firm on a basket of currencies to 90.220.

The dollar gained 0.5 percent on the yen to 106.67, amid the recovery in risk appetite.

There was little immediate reaction to the of Japan's latest policy meeting where it chose to maintain its massive stimulus campaign unaltered.

Investors were now awaiting a conference with BOJ at 3:30 p.m. (0630 GMT).

"Actual policy tweaks in terms of asset purchases or yield-curve control settings remain some way off, but words can be very powerful," said analysts at

"Any more detailed hints about timing will move the yen," they added.

"The global liquidity being provided by the BOJ and ECB has taken on added importance for asset markets since the Federal Reserve starting winding back its own programme."

recouped some ground in after slipping overnight. U.S. crude bounced 13 cents to $60.25 per barrel, while Brent crude futures rose 21 cents to $63.82 per barrel.

Spot gold eased 0.3 percent to $1,317.86 per ounce, extending losses into a third session as demand for safe havens lessened.

(Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by and Kim Coghill)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 09 2018. 08:45 IST
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