Asia stocks rise, yuan jumps amid trade tension ease

Shares in Asia bounded higher on Tuesday as market sentiment improved ahead of the phase one trade deal signing between China and the U.S. later this week. Optimism rose further after Washington said Beijing was no longer a currency manipulator.

The Nikkei 225 climbed 0.73% to close at 24,025.17 and the Topix index was up 0.31% to 1,740.53 after Japanese markets returned from a public holiday on Monday. Shares of technology conglomerate Softbank surged 3.51%.

In South Korea, the Kospi gained 0.43% to close at 2,238.88.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped 0.85% as major miners gained. Fortescue Metals and Rio Tinto both jumped 1.85%, and BHP Group rose 1.32%.

Chinese markets were the outliers during Tuesday’s session. The Shanghai composite traded down 0.28% to close at 3,106.82, and the Shenzhen composite fell 0.23% to 1,818.13. The Shenzhen component lost 0.47% to close at 10,988.77.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 0.28% during the last hour of trade.

Overall, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.18% by Tuesday afternoon.

China’s dollar-denominated imports from the U.S. rebounded in November and December, Reuters reported citing data from China’s customs released on Tuesday. It was the first time that its exports went up since March last year.

In December China’s trade surplus with the U.S. was $23.18 billion — down from $24.6 billion in November.

In particular, China’s soybean and pork imports from the U.S. significantly rebounded in December. Washington has demanded that Beijing buys more agricultural goods from the U.S. as part of their phase on trade deal — the signing of that agreement is set to happen on Wednesday in Washington. The deal is also expected to involve some rollback of tariffs.