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Asian Markets Gain on Rate Cuts Hope - Asian markets rose on Friday in Asia amid growing expectations for aggressive Federal Reserve easing following dovish comments from New York Federal Reserve President John Williams (NYSE:WMB).

China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component gained 1.1% and 1.3% respectively by 10:40 PM ET (02:40 GMT). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index also climbed 1.3%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 1.8%. Data showed today that the country’s core consumer price index rose 0.6% in June from a year earlier, in line with expectations.

Tensions between Japan and South Korea remained in focus after South Korea's Trade Ministry urged Japan to do another round of discussions over Tokyo's tighter export controls.

"There are major concerns that such a move would have a grave impact on not only the economies in both countries, but the global supply chain," Lee Ho-hyeon, a director at South Korea's trade ministry, said at a briefing.

"It is regrettable that the Japanese side repeatedly makes claims that are different from truth," he said.

"We again urge Japan's genuine response to our request for a director-level consultations."

Down under, Australia’s ASX 200 traded 0.8% higher.

The gains in Asian stocks came after Williams said in a speech that the Fed will “act quickly” to support the economy as “it’s better to take preventative measures than to wait for disaster to unfold.”

However, the New York Fed clarified later that Williams' speech were not indicative of the central bank’s future moves.

"Dovish Fed policy expectations do provide support for the equity markets, which are set to rebound after suffering losses the previous day. But factors such as U.S.-China trade issues and tensions over Iran are likely to limit the markets' gains," said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management, in a Reuters report.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer spoke with their Chinese counterparts over the phone, Lighthizer’s office confirmed overnight, but gave no other details.

“Right now we’re having principal-level calls and to the extent that it makes sense for us to set up in-person meetings, I would anticipate that we would be doing that,” Mnuchin said, adding that it is possible the call could lead to an in-person meeting.

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