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Asian Stocks Mixed Amid Resurfacing Trade Tension

Investing.com - Asian stocks were mixed in morning trade on Friday amid resurfacing trade tension, while much worse-than-expected Singapore GDP data offered further evidence of the spreading impact of the U.S.-China trade conflict.

China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component were both up 0.4% by 10:40PM ET (02:40 GMT). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.3%.

On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump complained that China has not increased its purchase of American farm products, even after agreeing to do so when Trump met Chinese leader Xi Jinping last month in Japan. China had never publicly confirmed any such commitment.

“China is letting us down in that they have not been buying the agricultural products from our great Farmers that they said they would. Hopefully they will start soon!” Trump tweeted.

China actually bought fewer U.S.-made agricultural products following the G-20 meeting, data released on Thursday showed.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was little changed, while South Korea’s KOSPI slipped 0.1%.

Down under, Australia’s ASX 200 inched down 0.1%.

In his second day of congressional testimony, U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank has room to ease monetary policy as the relationship between inflation and jobless rates has weakened. The comments reflect that a sustained period of low unemployment has failed to generate any noticeable inflationary pressure.

“The relationship between unemployment and inflation became weak” about 20 years ago, Powell told the Senate Banking Committee Thursday. “It’s become weaker and weaker and weaker.”

He then said the U.S. economy is “in a very good place” and that the Fed wants “to use our tools to keep it there.”

“We’re learning that interest rates -- that the neutral interest rate -- is lower than we had thought and I think we’re learning that the natural rate of unemployment is lower than we thought,” he said. “So monetary policy hasn’t been as accommodative as we had thought.”

Meanwhile, data showed today that gross domestic product in Singapore state shrank an annualized 3.4% in the second quarter from the first three months of the year. That compared with forecasts for a 0.5% expansion.

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