April 10, 2018 / 3:22 AM / 2 years ago

Japan's Nikkei soars after Xi's speech bolsters risk appetite

TOKYO, April 10 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average surged in late morning trade on Tuesday, as automakers rose after Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to lower import tariffs on products including cars this year.

The comments come amid rising trade tensions between China and the United States following a week of escalating tariff threats sparked by U.S. frustration with China’s trade and intellectual property policies. The growing rift between the world’s two largest economiest is worrying financial markets over potential damage to global growth.

At the midday break, the Nikkei rose 1.1 percent to 21,913.06, after trading in negative territory earlier.

Xi also said China would raise the foreign ownership limit in the automobile sector “as soon as possible” and push previously announced measures to open the financial sector.

“He spoke in more details than the market had expected,” said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a strategist at Mizuho Securities. “The market was focused on mention about some sectors including auto and finance, and he seems to have delivered enough details to satisfy investors.”

The transport equipment sector gained 1.5 percent and was the third-biggest gainer on the board, with Toyota Motor Corp surging 1.9 percent, Honda Motor Co jumping 2.1 percent and Mazda Motor Corp gaining 1.0 percent.

Companies with large exposure to China also staged a rally.

Industrial robot maker Fanuc Corp soared 3.1 percent, machine tool maker Okuma gained 2.5 percent and construction machinery maker Komatsu advanced 2.9 percent.

The broader Topix gained 0.9 percent to 1,740.78. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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