Asian Equities Mixed as Cohn Resigns; Yen Climbs

© Reuters. Asian stocks were mixed in morning trade on Wednesday – Asian stocks were mixed in morning trade on Wednesday, despite the fact that global trade-war concerns intensified with the resignation of White House economic adviser Gary Cohn after disputes over tariffs.

White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn announced his resignation on Tuesday. While Cohn did not mention the disputes in his statement, he reportedly quit just hours after a confrontation with U.S. president Trump over his tariffs plan. Following Cohn’s announcement, the White House also said it was considering to impose wider curbs on China and clamp down on Chinese investment in the U.S.

Overnight, the gained 0.04%, the added 0.26%, and the was up 0.5%.

In Asia, Japan’s traded 0.1% lower by 9:30pm ET, as yen strengthened after the U.S. showed mixed signals about whether Trump would follow through with his tariff proposals. Bank of Japan’s monetary policy decision and briefing are due this Friday.

China’s National People’s Congress continued to remain in focus, as the country’s finance minister Xiao Jie said on the third day of the event that the country would continue to cut tax and pledge tax cut of $126 billion, on top of extending tax breaks to small and medium sized enterprises. Xiao also noted that China would strictly punish debt issuance chaos to ensure there is no systematic debt risks in the country. The and opened 0.3% and 0.2% higher respectively. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s reversed some of its 600 points gains yesterday and slipped 0.2%.

South Korea’s gained 0.6% and the Won rallied after North Korea indicated that it would consider giving up nuclear weapons if the regime’s safety is guaranteed. Trump signaled he was open to talks with North Korea following the comments.

Elsewhere, Australia’s fell 0.7% after the country reported a slower-than-expected growth of 0.4% in the December quarter, compared to the general consensus of an increase of 0.5%. The economic growth was reportedly undermined by weaker construction and exports.

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