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Asian Markets Mixed as Investors Digest Latest Sino-U.S. Trade Headlines

Investing.com - Asian markets were mixed on Tuesday as investors digested the latest news on the Sino-U.S. trade front.

The Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component gained 0.3% and 1.6% respectively by 10:45 PM ET (02:45 GMT). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.4%.

Chinese stocks recovered from Monday’s losses after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is still set to lead a Chinese delegation in trade talks in Washington on Thursday and Friday even as U.S. President Donald Trump warned that tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods could more than double to 25% from 10% on Friday.

Comments by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who said the U.S. would reconsider the duties if talks get back on track raised hopes that the two sides might still be able to reach a trade deal.

Japan’s Nikkei 225, which returned to the first day of trade following an extended holiday period, was down 1.0%.

Data showed this morning that the country’s manufacturing activity expanded in April for the first time in three months.

The Markit/Nikkei Japan Flash Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to a seasonally adjusted 50.2 in April from 49.2 in March.

The pick-up "will be a welcome sign that the recent drop in momentum has potentially subsided for now," said Joe Hayes, an economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.

"Given the difficulties faced by firms in semi-conductor and automobile-related industries in recent months, it bodes well that anecdotal evidence indicated that stronger optimism was in part driven by more upbeat forecasts for these two key Asian industries."

South Korea’s KOSPI was down 1.0%, while Australia’s ASX 200 rose 0.7%.

Stocks across the globe plunged on Monday after Trump unexpectedly said he would raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods because negotiations are moving “too slowly”.

In an abrupt move, Trump tweeted on Sunday that tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods would rise to 25% on Friday from the current 10% and that $325 billion of untaxed goods could also face 25% duties “shortly”. Trump added that he was not satisfied with the pace of negotiations.

“The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!” he tweeted.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said about 90% of the pact had been finalized last week, but progress in trade talks deteriorated after China sent through a new draft of a potential agreement over the weekend that saw them pulling back on language in the text on some key issues.

The changes had the “potential to change the deal very dramatically,” Mnuchin said.

“We are not willing to go back on documents that have been negotiated in the past,” he said.

“We felt we were on track to get somewhere. Over the course of last week we have seen an erosion of commitments by China. That in our view is unacceptable,” Lighthizer added.

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