Markets were earlier expecting an escalation in the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, following reports which said the Trump administration could place tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods when a public comment period ended at 12:00 p.m. HK/SIN on Friday. As of 3:12 p.m. HK/SIN, however, there were still no news on that front.
China's commerce ministry had stated on Thursday that the country would retaliate if the U.S. imposes new tariffs.
Nevertheless, some economists expect the conflict to continue.
ANZ Research Chief Economist (Greater China) Raymond Yeung said in a report on Friday that "an end point" has not been reached in the U.S.-China trade conflict.
"We believe the US government will continue to escalate the scale and scope of trade and investment measures against China ... The Trump administration is not simply targeting the bilateral trade balance between the US and China. If it is, the trade friction would have been eased back in May," he wrote.
"The administration's policy towards China is also targeting other aspects such as technology transfer, and the ultimate objective is to ensure that the US remains the largest economy in the world," he said, adding that this policy direction is unlikely to change even after the U.S. midterm elections in November.
Meanwhile, negotiations between the U.S. and Canada are still underway as the two parties seek to come to an agreement on the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The talks are expected to continue and could potentially last weeks.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, was at 94.915 as of 3:05 p.m. HK/SIN, off its high from yesterday.
The Japanese yen weakened slightly but was still up against the dollar at 110.64 while the Australian dollar was softer at $0.7152, as of 3:06 p.m. HK/SIN.
Oil markets were up again in the afternoon of Asian trade. The global benchmark Brent crude futures were up 0.12 percent at $76.59 per barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures climbed up by 0.19 percent at $67.90 a barrel.
— CNBC's Fred Imbert and Reuters contributed to this report.