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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.

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Asia markets August 21: central banks, trade tensions

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Asia markets were set to decline Wednesday morning after U.S. markets pulled back overnight on recession fears.

Nikkei futures in Osaka and Singapore traded below the benchmark index’s last close at 20,677.22. SPI futures in Australia also pointed to a lower open for the ASX 200, which last traded at 6,545.

The session in Asia will follow declines in the U.S. and in Europe on Tuesday, where Italy’s mounting political crisis likely caused a dent in investor sentiment.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced his intention to resign — he had been under pressure since one of the country’s deputy prime ministers, Matteo Salvini, called for a snap election.

The euro traded at $1.1098, moving little from an earlier low of $1.1094 but Italy’s FTSE MIB tumbled 1%.

“Markets traded on little news flow as investors await guidance from central bankers into the end of the week,” Adelaide Timbrell said in an early morning note, pointing to policy meeting minutes that are due from the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee and the European Central Bank.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

The U.S. central bank lowered its benchmark rate by a quarter point in July for the first time in more than a decade.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is set to deliver his annual speech on Friday at the Jackson Hole, Wyoming symposium, where he is expected to provide more clarity on the Fed’s future intentions.

“His remarks will be closely monitored for hints that more policy easing is in store, against the backdrop of ongoing trade tension,” Timbrell wrote, adding that markets are expecting the Fed to cut rates by 25 basis points at its next meeting in September.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar last traded at 98.19 against a basket of its peers.

The Japanese yen traded at 106.25 against the greenback, weakening from levels below 106 in the previous week. Meanwhile, the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6777.

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UK tech startups see record foreign funding thanks to Amazon, SoftBank

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London’s Old Street roundabout, often dubbed “Silicon Roundabout.”

Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

British technology start-ups have attracted more foreign investment since the start of the year than they did throughout all of 2018, according to fresh figures published Wednesday.

U.S. and Asian venture capital investors poured $3.7 billion into U.K. tech companies in the first seven months of 2019, research from industry group Tech Nation and data firm Dealroom showed. Last year, U.K. start-ups raised $2.9 billion from American and Asian investors.

The eye-watering sum was boosted by nine-figure deals from capital-rich companies like Amazon and SoftBank. In May, Amazon led a $575 million funding round for Deliveroo — although that was hit with a warning from the U.K. competition regulator — while SoftBank’s notable U.K. investments include $800 million for Greensill and $390 million for OakNorth.

Including domestic sources of cash, $6.7 billion has been invested into private British tech firms overall in 2019, Tech Nation said, adding that figure could rise to a record $11 billion by the end of the year. The organization said U.S. corporate venture capital funding for U.K. start-ups has risen by 3% in the last six years, while Asian corporate funding is up 20%.

“It’s evidence for us that there’s growing interest for emerging technologies that are gaining a lot of traction in the U.K. from foreign investors,” George Windsor, Tech Nation’s head of insights, told CNBC in a phone interview. “This shows us the U.K. is continuing to perform strongly on the global stage, and for us this is just the start.”

The U.K. pulled in the largest amount of foreign funding for tech companies versus other European countries, the data showed. For example, German start-ups bagged about $800 million from U.S. and Asian investors in the first half of the year, while French firms brought in only $500 million.

One particular bright spot for the U.K.’s tech industry has been financial technology, with plenty of capital flowing into start-ups like Monzo, Checkout and GoCardless. Monzo is backed by U.S. payments firm Stripe, while GoCardless counts tech giants Alphabet and Salesforce as investors.

But Tech Nation’s Windsor said the country has managed to maintain a diverse mix of start-ups in terms of sectors, with the research highlighting health tech firm Babylon and energy supplier Ovo Energy as examples of other companies attracting large sums of money. British artificial intelligence and cybersecurity firms are also an attractive bet for foreign investors, he said.

And while Brexit has been a source of uncertainty for businesses across the U.K., Windsor said it isn’t at the top of tech entrepreneurs’ minds: “Entrepreneurs had problems before Brexit, and they’ll just get about solving them. Brexit is too nebulous a thing for them to tackle as an entrepreneur.”

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Trump renews call for Russia to join G-7 group

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US President Donald Trump meets Russian President Vladimir Putin on the first day of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan on June 28, 2019.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump renewed calls Tuesday to readmit Russia to the G-7 ahead of the global group of industrialized nations’ summit in Biarritz, France, this weekend.

The group once known as the G-8 included the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Japan and Russia — but was cut down to the G-7 in 2014 following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.

“I’ve gone to numerous G-7 meetings, and I guess President Obama, because Putin outsmarted him, President Obama thought it wasn’t a good thing to have Russia in so he wanted Russia out. I think it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in and it should be the G-8,” Trump said, referencing the U.S.-led role in suspending Russia’s involvement with the group.

“So I could certainly see it being the G-8 again,” Trump added, noting that the group frequently discusses issues concerning Russia.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine sparked international uproar and triggered a series of sanctions to be placed on Moscow. Shortly after the annexation, a war broke out in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russian-backed separatists.

The G-8 will be hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron in Biarritz, France, Aug. 24-26. The group meets annually to discuss issues from world energy policy to international security.

Trump previously said Russia should be reinstated to the group as he departed for last year’s summit, held in Canada.

“Russia should be in this meeting,” Trump told reporters before boarding Marine One for the summit. “They should let Russia come back in, because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”

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