Asia Pacific stocks set to trade mixed as US announces some tariff delays

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Stocks in Asia Pacific were set to trade mixed on Wednesday as the U.S. announced a delay in the implementation of tariffs on some Chinese goods.

Futures pointed to a higher open for Japanese stocks, with the Nikkei futures contract in Chicago at 20,760 and its counterpart in Osaka at 20,730. The Nikkei 225 last closed at 20,455.44.

Shares in Australia, on the other hand, were set to trade lower. The SPI futures contract was at 6,540.0, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 6,568.50.

The United States Trade Representative announced Tuesday certain products including clothing and cellphones are being removed from the tariff list based on “health, safety, national security and other factors” and will not face additional tariffs of 10%. Other tariffs will be delayed to Dec. 15 from Sep. 1 for certain goods, it said.

Investors will be watching for the reaction from the People’s Bank of China when it announces its official midpoint reference rate for the yuan around 9:15 a.m. HK/SIN. It had last fixed the midpoint at 7.0326 per dollar on Tuesday — stronger than analysts’ expectations — and the fourth consecutive session where the central bank set the figure weaker than the psychologically important 7-yuan-per-dollar level.

Meanwhile, tensions in Hong Kong remained high after the city’s airport saw disruptions for a second day on Tuesday as a result of protests.

Chinese industrial production data is also set to be released at 10:00 a.m. HK/SIN today, as investors watch for the economic impact of the ongoing trade war between Beijing and Washington.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

Shares of Apple suppliers in Asia will be also be under scrutiny today, with the Cupertino-based tech giant seeing its stock surge more than 4% on Tuesday.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the day 372.54 points higher at 26,279.91, while the S&P 500 added 1.48% to close at 2,926.32. The Nasdaq Composite ended its trading day 1.95% higher at 8,016.36.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.812 after surging from levels below 97.5 yesterday.

The Japanese yen, often seen as a safe-haven currency, traded at 106.63 against the dollar after weakening sharply from levels below 105.5 in the previous session. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6796 after jumping from levels below $0.676 yesterday.

Here’s a look at some of the data due today:

  • China: Industrial production, fixed asset investment (year to date), retail sales data for July at 10:00 a.m. HK/SIN
  • Hong Kong earnings: HKEX, Champion REIT, Lenovo, Tencent

— CNBC’s Yun Li contributed to this report.