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Asia shares flat ahead of Xi’s speech

Gains in the technology sector, with Samsung Electronics up 0.79%, were offset by losses seen in other sectors.

Asia shares flat ahead of Xi’s speech

Asia stocks were mostly trading flat on Monday in morning session as US President Donald Trump continued his twitter war with China over trade tariffs.

The Nikkei 225 was mostly directionless, with the benchmark last lower by 0.03%. South Korea's Kospi reflected a similar picture, last trading higher by 0.04%. Meanwhile, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.17%.

In greater China, the Hang Seng Index was up 0.52%, while mainland’s Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.13%.

Gains in the technology sector, with Samsung Electronics up 0.79%, were offset by losses seen in other sectors, including steelmakers. Posco sank 1.88%.

The heavily weighted financial sector in Australia edged lower by 0.23% and materials stocks shed 0.24%.

In positive news, North Korea has told the US for the first time that it was prepared to discuss denuclearisation when their leaders meet.

Investors remained cautious after Trump claimed on Sunday that China would take down its trade barriers because it was “the right thing to do.” Trump on Thursday threatened to slap $100 billion more in tariffs on Chinese imports, while Beijing said it was fully prepared to respond with a “fierce counter strike”.

 “This is not going to happen tomorrow, and given the mercurial nature of the US administration, the whole issue could well disappear before anything really happens,” said Marshall Gittler, chief strategist at ACLS Global.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to deliver a speech at the Boao Forum on Tuesday.

In currency markets, the dollar steadied on the safe haven yen at 107.00, just short of the recent six-week peak of 107.49. The euro hovered at $1.2270, after bouncing from a trough of $1.2212, while the dollar index was a fraction firmer at 90.203.

In commodity markets, gold eased slightly to $1,331.69 an ounce, but stayed well within recent trading ranges.


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