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Global Markets: Asia shares gain as North Korea offers halt on nuclear testing

Reuters  |  SYDNEY 

By Wayne Cole

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian stock markets made guarded gains on Friday on North Korean leader Un had offered to stop nuclear and missile testing and to arrange a meeting with U.S.

South Korea's made the announcement at the White House, after delivering a letter from Kim to Trump.

The chance of an easing in geopolitical tensions in the region helped Japan's Nikkei <.N225> climb 1.3 percent, while South Korean stocks <.KS11> added 0.9 percent.

MSCI's broadest index of shares outside <.MIAPJ0000PUS> edged up 0.15 percent, while Australia <.AXJO> firmed 0.3 percent.

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 a full-blown 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."

E-Mini futures for the were up 0.1 percent, after Wall Street got a late lift from the tariff The Dow <.DJI> ended Thursday with a gain of 0.38 percent, while the <.SPX> added 0.45 percent and the Nasdaq <.IXIC> 0.42 percent.

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 ON THE BLOCKS

The dovish tone was enough to see the euro fade back to $1.2305, having shed 0.8 percent on Thursday. That helped the U.S. dollar gain 0.5 percent on a basket of currencies to stand at 90.129 <.DXY>.

The dollar nudged up 0.2 percent on the yen to 106.40 , amid a mild recovery in risk appetites. Attention now turns to the of Japan's policy meeting later on Friday.

Fears of a global trade war, recent market volatility and a strong yen give the plenty of reason to maintain its massive asset buying campaign, and to play down the prospect of an exit anytime soon.

"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."

steadied in after slipping overnight, with sentiment still dogged by signs of building inventories, surging U.S. crude production and jitters about a potential trade war.

U.S. crude bounced 18 cents in early trade to $60.30 per barrel. Brent crude futures had ended Thursday down 73 cents at $63.61 per barrel.

(Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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

First Published: Fri, March 09 2018. 06:04 IST
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