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Asia stocks rise as Trump delays tariffs on China

Key Points
  • Shares in Asia rose on Thursday.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that increased tariffs on 250 billion dollars worth of Chinese goods that were set to kick in on October 1 have now been delayed to October 15.
  • Investors also awaited the European Central Bank's decision on interest rates, set to be announced later in the day.
  • Markets in South Korea were closed on Thursday for a holiday.

Stocks in Asia rose on Thursday as investor hopes rose on positive developments on the U.S.-China trade front.

Mainland Chinese stocks edged up on the day, with the Shanghai composite rising 0.75% to about 3,031.24 and Shenzhen component adding 0.67% to 9,919.80. The Shenzhen composite gained 0.58% to approximately 1,681.23.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slipped about 0.2%, as of its final hour of trading. Shares of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) fell more than 3% following its bid for the London Stock Exchange Group (LSE). The HKEX said Wednesday a proposal to the board of LSE had been made to "combine the two companies."

Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch InBev said on Thursday it is continuing to explore its Budweiser initial public offering in Hong Kong, two months after saying it will not proceed with the planned listing.

Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.75% on the day to 21,759.61, while the Topix added 0.72% to close at 1,595.10. Shares of Yahoo Japan jumped 2.35% as the company offered to buy the majority of online clothing retailer Zozo. For its part, Zozo saw its stock surge 13.43%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.25% to close at 6,654.90.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index gained 0.46%.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

The moves in the region came as U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that increased tariffs on 250 billion dollars worth of Chinese goods that were set to kick in on October 1 have now been delayed to October 15 "as a gesture of good will."

Trump said the decision was made at the request of Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and in consideration of the 70th anniversary celebrations of the People's Republic of China.

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted: "At the request of the Vice Premier of China, Liu He, and due to the fact that the People's Republic of China will be celebrating their 70th Anniversary on October 1st, we have agreed, as a gesture of good will, to move the increased Tariffs on 250 Billion Dollars worth of goods (25% to 30%), from October 1st to October 15th."

"It's hard to know ... where things are going to go but I guess if we're trading concessions that's better than trading escalations," James McCormack, global head of sovereign ratings at Fitch Ratings, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday.

Still, McCormack added: "I think we're some distance from real resolution, I suspect if we're sitting here a year from now we'll still be talking about many of these issues."

Investors also awaited the European Central Bank's decision on interest rates, set to be announced later in the day.

"There is a unanimous consensus for easing measures to be announced, but a great deal of uncertainty on what exactly these measures might entail," Rodrigo Catril, senior foreign exchange strategist at National Australia Bank, wrote in a morning note.

Markets in South Korea were closed on Thursday for a holiday.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98.616 after rising to highs around the 98.7 handle yesterday.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.96 against the dollar after weakening from levels around 106.8 earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6882 after seeing an earlier low of $0.6857.

Oil prices rose in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures adding 0.38% to $61.04 per barrel and U.S. crude futures gaining 0.45% to $56 per barrel.

— Reuters and CNBC's Fred Imbert contributed to this report.