* MSCI Asia Ex-Japan +1.2 pct, Nikkei +1.2 pct
* European markets seen opening higher
* China indexes waver on mixed data dump
* China state media says China will not “surrender” to U.S. trade demands
By Andrew Galbraith
SHANGHAI, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Asian shares rose on Friday as the United States and China looked set to launch a new round of trade talks amid an escalating tariff row, while a decisive interest rate hike by Turkey’s central bank also helped support global risk appetite.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.2 percent, putting it on track for its best performance in more than two weeks.
Australian shares ended up 0.7 percent, Seoul’s Kospi was up 1.4 percent higher and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 0.9 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei stock index ended 1.2 percent higher.
Shares in Europe are expected to follow Asia higher, with spreadbetters tipping London’s FTSE to open 0.2 percent higher, Frankfurt’s DAX and Paris’ CAC 0.3 percent up each.
But Chinese shares struggled, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite index falling less than 0.1 percent, having spent much of the day wavering between gains and losses.
Investors in China were assessing new data showing forecast-topping industrial output and retail sales data for August alongside falling real estate investment. There were underlying concerns that a cooling property market could increase risks for the economic outlook as the trade environment worsens.
China’s blue-chip CSI300 index turned around from earlier losses to gain 0.2 percent.
“What the market wants is some degree of certainty,” said Jim McCafferty, head of Equity Research, Asia ex-Japan at Nomura.
“I think everyone knows that the trade deal might not be as optimistic as it might have been in … June or July, and it might be negative for many Chinese companies. But the fact that there’s no certainty there is one reason that investors are staying on the sidelines.”
News of a possible new round of talks between Washington and Beijing comes even as the trade war between the world’s two largest economies looks set to escalate.
Chinese officials welcomed an invitation from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for new talks. But U.S. President Donald Trump tempered market expectations, tweeting on Thursday that the U.S. is “under no pressure to make a deal with China.”
The Trump administration is readying a final list of $200 billion in Chinese imports on which it plans to levy tariffs in the coming days, a move that many fear would mark a severe escalation in the trade war and put a significant dent in global growth.
“The news on Wednesday that US officials had invited China to restart trade talks suggests that the announcement of tariffs on $200bn of Chinese imports may be delayed. But we think the chance that fresh talks will defuse trade tensions is low,” Capital Economics analysts said in a note.
The analysts noted that Mnuchin had brokered a deal with China in May that was scuppered days later by Trump.
“As a result, he has little credibility with Chinese policymakers,” they said.
On Friday, the state-run English-language China Daily newspaper said in an editorial that China would not “surrender” to U.S. demands, and that Beijing “will not hesitate to take countermeasures against U.S. tariffs to safeguard China’s interests.”
Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi, the country’s top diplomat, also put trade into the spotlight on Friday, commenting that the current world trade system is not perfect and China supports reforms to it.
Uncertainty around the global outlook for trade was highlighted by the European Central Bank, which on Thursday kept policy unchanged as expected and warned that risks from protectionism were gaining prominence.
But a sharp interest rate hike by Turkey’s central bank to support a tumbling lira boosted risk appetite in emerging markets. In a rare show of independence, the bank raised its benchmark interest rate by 625 basis points, to 24 percent.
The bank raised the rate even after it came under criticism by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who repeated his opposition to high interest rates on Thursday and said high inflation was a result of the central bank’s wrong steps.
Currency crises both in Turkey and Argentina have stoked fears of contagion over the past several weeks, hammering emerging market assets from Indonesia to India to South Africa.
After rising as high as 6.01 to the dollar, the lira was at 6.1050 on Friday.
“The Turkish Central Bank seems to have regained some credibility after hiking rates to an eye-watering 24 percent. This move looks to have reset investor expectations for the lira and let some investors breathe a sigh of relief,” said Hannah Anderson, Global Market Strategist, J.P. Morgan Asset Management.
“However, this is not enough to assuage all investor worries about EM. Individual emerging markets are being buffeted by highly local cross currents in the context of broader negative sentiment around EMs.”
The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes rose to 2.9701 percent compared with its U.S. close of 2.964 percent on Thursday.
The two-year yield, sensitive to expectations of higher Fed fund rates, touched 2.7611 percent compared with a U.S. close of 2.756 percent.
The two-year yield fell Thursday after data showed U.S. consumer prices rose less than expected in August, and underlying inflation pressures also appeared to be slowing, suggesting the Federal Reserve’s pace of rate hikes could slow.
The euro was up 0.04 percent at $1.1693 after rising on Thursday on comments from ECB President Mario Draghi that focused on healthy domestic fundamentals, including rapid growth in employment and a rise in wages.
The pound also edged 0.04 percent higher to $1.3110. On Thursday, the Bank of England kept interest rates on hold and highlighted greater financial market concerns about Brexit, a month after raising borrowing costs for only the second time in more than a decade.
The dollar eased 0.07 percent against the yen to 111.84 .
U.S. crude was 0.3 percent higher at $68.79 a barrel as Hurricane Florence approached the U.S. east coast. Brent crude rose 0.1 percent to $78.27 per barrel.
Spot gold gained 0.35 percent to $1,205.03 per ounce.
Reporting by Andrew Galbraith
Editing by Shri Navaratnam