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Financial Times / Biz - Money

Asia equities higher after Trump agrees to meet Kim Jong Un

Shares in Asia Pacific rose on Friday after US President Donald Trump agreed to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un following months of tension.

South Korea’s National Security Adviser, Chung Eui-yong announced on White House grounds on Thursday that Mr Trump had accepted an invitation from Mr Kim and that the two would meet by May. Mr Kim offered to suspend nuclear and missile tests. 

Mr Trump later tweeted: “Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!”. 

South Korea’s Kospi index rallied following the announcement, climbing as much as 1.8 per cent before easing to be 1.4 per cent higher. The South Korean won strengthened sharply against the dollar, rising as much as 0.6 per cent to a high of Won1066.78. 

“We welcome the de-escalation of conflict on the Korean Peninsula, but it is early days and almost impossible to say that the tensions will disappear completely,” said Kerry Craig, global market strategist for JP Morgan Asset Management. “Geopolitics will continue to weigh on markets, but we think they will be a less defining feature, as the more significant influence on markets will be the earnings outlook.” 

In Japan, the Topix index gained 1.6 per cent and the price-focused Nikkei 225 was 2.2 per cent higher at a one-week high. The dollar was 0.6 per cent stronger against the yen, which is seen as a haven in times of uncertainty, at ¥106.83. 

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.8 per cent to a one-week high and the Hang Seng China Enterprises index of Hong Kong-listed China companies rose 0.7 per cent. In mainland China, the CSI 300 comprised of Shanghai and Shenzhen companies rose 0.3 per cent. 

In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.6 per cent.