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    Asia markets trade mostly higher as Japan's Nikkei 225 climbs

    Asia Pacific markets were mostly up Friday as investors digested new developments on the U.S.-China trade front and reacted to a vote from lawmakers that could potentially delay the U.K.'s exit from the European Union.

    In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.83 percent while the Topix index added 0.88 percent. South Korea's Kospi gained 0.38 percent.

    The yen traded at 111.77 to the dollar at 8:23 a.m. HK/SIN after weakening from levels near 111.00. The safe haven currency will be watched as Japan's central bank is set to deliver its monetary policy decision later in the day.

    "No policy changes are expected but Japanese 10 year bond yields fell to their lowest level since 2016, which tells (us) that investors are bracing for dovishness," Kathy Lien, managing director of foreign-exchange strategy at BK Asset Management, said in a Thursday evening note.

    Low inflation has forced the Bank of Japan to stick with a massive stimulus program despite rising costs.

    "The big question for the BoJ tonight is whether the deterioration in trade warrants an adjustment in their economic assessment," she added.

    Australia's ASX 200 was near flat as the heavily weighted financial subindex fell 0.37 percent.

    U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday the U.S. will probably know in the next three or four weeks about a possible trade deal with China.

    Chinese negotiators, meanwhile, have suggested combining a long-discussed state visit by President Xi Jinping to the U.S. with the announcement of any forthcoming agreement — they also said Beijing wants a deal to be fully ironed out before Xi sat down with Trump.

    In the U.K., lawmakers voted in favor of seeking a delayed departure from the European Union for at least three months. The vote was nonbinding, however, and the EU will have to agree to a delay. Brussels, for its part, has already said the U.K. needs to justify requesting such an extension beyond the current Mar. 29 deadline.

    Friday's session in Asia followed a mixed day on Wall Street where the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite closed lower for the first time in four days.

    The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of its peers, last traded at 96.738 after declining from levels above 97.500 in the previous week.

    — Reuters contributed to this report.


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