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Asian stocks subdued, oil rises on US Iran tensions



TOKYO: Asian shares were released to a cautious start on Monday as investors pinned their hopes on any signs of a thaw in Sino-U.S.

MSCI's broadest index of Asian-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.16percent in early trade while Japan's Nikkei ticked down 0.26per cent.

Wall Street shares closed slightly lower on Friday after the Federal Reserve's readiness that it would cut interest rates soon to bolster its economy from protracted trade conflicts.

The Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency said on Sunday China's President Xi Jinping wants to attend the G20 summit in Japan this week, giving the first official confirmation of his attendance at a gathering where he is expected to meet US President Donald Trump.

The news came after U.S.. Vice President Mike Pence on Friday decided to call off China Speech, which will be more optimistic about upcoming trade talks with Beijing. Pence had upset China with a fierce speech in October.

"Event-driven players are looking at US and China at least appear to be talking to each other, "said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

Still, there remain doubts on which two sides could come to any meaningful agreement as the tensions Washington, DC Huawei, the world's largest telecoms gear maker, on a blacklist that effectively bans US doing business with the company.

Commerce Department said on Friday it was adding several Chinese companies and a government-owned institute involved in super computing with military applications.

In China, the Global Times newspaper said FedEx Corp. is likely to be added to Beijing's 'unreliable entities list'.

"Few investors would expect a progress when they are talking about entity." lists, just days before a likely summit. "

Oil prices held firm near three-week highs hit last week after the United States and Iran came to the brink Iran was shooting down at an unmanned US surveillance drone.

Brent crude futures rose 0.6percent to US $ 65.58 per barrel, near Friday's three-week high of US $ 65.76. U.S. crude futures were up 0.75percent at US $ 57.88 per barrel.

Tehran said the drone was spying over its territory while Washington said it was downed on international airspace.

President Trump said he was not happy with Tehran after a senior Iranian military commander warned any conflict in the Gulf region could uncontrollably and threaten the lives of US troops.

Yet, Iran and the United States, with Washington due to announce "significant sanctions on Iran on Monday."

So Trump's is becoming a factor in the equation, Arab politicians and commentators US $ 50 billion Middle East Economic vision with a mixture of derision and exasperation.

The combination of heightened geopolitical worries and likely US

The precious metal stood at US $ 1,406.2 per ounce,

near Friday's six-year high of US $ 1,411.2.

The euro rose to three-month high of US $ 1.1379 in early Monday trade.

The dollar fetched 107.33 yen, having slipped to as low as 107.045 on Friday, the lowest level since its flash crash on Jan. 3.

The Turkish lira has about 0.75per cent to 5,767 after Turkey's main opposition claimed Sunday's victory in Istanbul's re-run election, dealing with one of the biggest blows to President Tayyip Erdogan.

(Editing by Jacqueline Wong)


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