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Asia stocks up slightly, eyes on US-China talks, Fed minutes

TOKYO: Asian stocks gained a tad on Wednesday after U.S-China trade talks resumed while investors awaited minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve for clues on policymakers' thinking on interest rates and its balance sheet reduction policy.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2 percent in early trade. Japan's Nikkei gained 0.4 percent.

Japan January exports fall 8.4% year-on-year

TOKYO: Japan's exports fell 8.4 percent in January from a year earlier, Ministry of Finance (MOF) data showed on Wednesday, in a sign of slowing external demand

Imports fell 0.6 percent in the year to January, versus the median estimate for a 2.8 percent decrease.

In rebuke to US, Germany considers letting Huawei in

Preliminary decision comes after probe found no evidence the Chinese tech giant could use its equipment to spy on communications

Gold price hits 10-month peak on growth worries; US$ dips

NEW YORK: Gold prices rose to a 10-month high on Tuesday as concerns over a global economic slowdown spurred a safe-haven bid and were also supported by a weaker U.S. dollar, which fell on optimism for a breakthrough in U.S.-China trade talks.

Spot gold added 1.1 percent to $1,341.02 an ounce. U.S. gold futures gained 1.66 percent to $1,344.10 an ounce.

Oil near 2019 highs amid Opec supply cuts; rising US output weighs(Update)

SINGAPORE: Oil prices hovered near 2019 highs on Wednesday, supported by OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, but capped by soaring U.S. production and expectations of an economic slowdown.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $55.93 per barrel at 0042 GMT, down 16 cents from their last settlement, but not far off their 2019 high of $56.33 reached earlier this week.  International Brent crude futures had yet to trade. They also hit a 2019 high of $66.83 per barrel this week.

Foreigners shy away from Asian bond markets data from Malaysia and others show

Foreign flows into emerging Asian bonds turned negative for the first time in four months in January, data from Malaysia and others showed, suggesting that a shift away from a tightening bias for regional central banks is dimming the attraction of its debt.

South Korean bond markets led the region with an outflow of $3.36 billion, followed by Malaysia with $574 million.

Petronas JV makes biggest gas discovery in Indonesia in 18 years

MADRID: A consortium led by Spain's Repsol, and 45 percent owned by Malaysia's Petronas, has found new gas resources in Indonesia estimated at at least 2 trillion cubic feet, equivalent to around two years' worth of Spanish demand.

The Madrid-based firm operates the well and holds a 45 percent stake, while Malaysia's Petronas owns 45 percent and Japan's MOECO the remaining 10 percent.

Wall Street rises modestly on Walmart bump

NEW YORK: All three major U.S. equity indexes closed higher, with the Nasdaq ending its seventh consecutive day in the black.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 8.07 points, or 0.03 percent, to 25,891.32, the S&P 500 gained 4.16 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,779.76 and the Nasdaq Composite added 14.36 points, or 0.19 percent, to 7,486.77.  Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, all but healthcare and industrials closed in positive territory.

Building owners are unable to get the rent they are seeking

KUALA LUMPUR: Office rental among super prime buildings in the Klang Valley is expected to come down further with landlords struggling to get the rental rate they want, according to property consultancy Rahim & Co.

A tenant’s market: (from left) Rahim & Co estate agency director Robert Ang, director of PJ office Choy Yue Kwong, Rahim, valuation services director Chee Kok Thim and research director Sulaiman Saheh at the property review 2018/2019

SunCon wins RM781mil TNB job

PETALING JAYA: Sunway Construction Group Bhd’s (SunCon) subsidiary has secured a RM781.3mil contract from Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) for the power giant’s campus in Bangsar.

SunCon, in a filing with Bursa Malaysia, said Sunway Construction Sdn Bhd had accepted the letter of award issued by TNB for phase two of the headquarters’ campus development.