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Most Asian markets up on hopes of China-US trade talks

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Hong Kong (AFP)

Most Asian markets rose Wednesday on hopes China and the US will resume talks to resolve a deepening trade war, while oil prices held losses after Donald Trump's offer for Iran talks.

Wall Street provided a positive lead, with upbeat earnings coming on top of a Bloomberg News report that Washington and Beijing were looking to discuss the tariffs row that has fuelled fears of an all-out trade war between the world's top two economies.

On Tuesday reports said the White House was considering hiking to 25 percent its planned 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that have been targeted.

Tariffs on $16 billion of Chinese imports are due in coming weeks, following measures on $34 billion worth of goods imposed in July, which prompted a response in kind by Beijing.

"The tariff issue is ongoing, I think it's a negotiating tactic," Nick Griffin, chief investment officer at Munro Partners, told Bloomberg Television.

"How much we take of this as real and affecting earnings is questionable at this stage. In terms of an actual earnings effect, it's not that big at the moment, it's mainly just sentiment and risk appetite and for that it's a moving feast."

In morning trade Hong Kong was up 0.4 percent and Shanghai added 0.2 percent while Tokyo went into the break 0.5 percent higher.

Seoul gained 0.4 percent, Taipei put on 0.2 percent and Jakarta rallied 0.7 percent, though Sydney dipped slightly and Singapore was flat.

Suppliers to Apple performed well after the US giant announced better-than-forecast profits. Foxconn climbed 1.3 percent in Taipei, Japan Display rallied almost three percent in Tokyo and Seoul-listed LG Display was 1.7 percent higher.

On currency markets the yen struggled to bounce back from Tuesday's drop after the Bank of Japan tweaked monetary policy but held off on any major tightening measures, while revising down inflation expectations.

Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA, said: "The BoJ announced minuscule adjustments. Traders view incredibly subtle shift towards policy normalisation as definitively dovish and topside (for the dollar) is now in play."

Oil prices extended the previous day's drop after Trump's offer for talks with Tehran Monday to resolve the nuclear row. Crude has risen in recent months on worries that supplies would be cut off by the US decision to pull out of a global accord with Iran over its atomic programme and reimpose sanctions.

Traders are also waiting for the release later in the day of a closely watched US crude inventories report seen as a barometer for supply and demand in the world's top oil consuming nation.

- Key figures at 0230 GMT -

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.5 percent at 22,674.32 (break)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.4 percent at 28,691.72

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.2 percent at 2,882.04

Dollar/yen: UP at 111.89 yen from 111.81 yen at 2030 GMT

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1685 from $1.1697

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3111 from $1.3127

Oil - Brent Crude: DOWN 42 cents at $73.79 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 47 cents at $68.29

New York - Dow Jones: UP 0.4 percent to 25,415.19 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.6 percent at 7,748.76 (close)

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