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Asian Stocks Gain on U.S.-China Trade Optimism - Asian stocks traded higher in morning trade on Friday on reports that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin proposed easing China tariffs.

Citing people with knowledge to the matter, the Wall Street Journal said Mnuchin is a proponent of easing tariffs, but Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is concerned the move would be seen as a sign of weakness.

The report sent U.S. stocks higher overnight, even after the Treasury Department quickly denied the news.

Earlier today, a senior administration official told CNBC in an interview that "there's no discussion of lifting tariffs now."

In Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component were both up 0.8%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 1.1%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.3% even after data on Friday showed the country’s annual core consumer inflation slowed to a seven-month low in December.

The core consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.7% in December from a year earlier, government data showed on Friday, slowing from the previous month's 0.9% gain.

Worsening Sino-U.S. trade disputes and slowing Chinese growth were said to be weighing on Japan’s exports and business sentiment.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s KOSPI advanced 0.5%. Australia’s ASX 200 gained 0.4%.

In other news, U.S. President Donald Trump cancelled his scheduled U.S. delegation’s trip to the global economic summit in Davos later this month, citing the ongoing partial government shutdown.

“Out of consideration for the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay and to ensure his team can assist as needed, President Trump has cancelled his Delegation’s trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday in a statement.

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