Asia stocks slip early Tuesday amid North Korea concerns, US$ up

A man cycles past an electronic stock board of a securities firm showing Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 that fell 62.16 points or 0.3 percent to 18,364.68 in Tokyo Friday

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Tokyo after reassuring South Korea of an "iron-clad" alliance with the United States as the reclusive North, which regularly threatens to destroy Japan, South Korea and the United States, has conducted a series of missile and nuclear tests. The parade comes as tensions have heightened with the U.S. Photo: Zuma Press.

"Geopolitical risk will continue to be closely monitored today as a strapping US Navy Armada moves within striking distance of North Korea", said Stephen Innes, senior trader at forex firm OANDA.

USA retail sales dropped more than expected in March while annual core inflation slowed to 2.0 per cent, the smallest advance since November 2015, from 2.2 per cent in February, data showed on Friday. A stronger dollar is also thought to be influencing exports, as USA trade is primarily dependent on a weaker dollar to encourage trade growth. The pound GBPUSD, +0.4950% traded at $1.2553, compared with $1.2522.

Relations between Pyongyang and Washington have reached new lows in recent weeks as a series of North Korean weapons tests have prompted warnings from Trump's administration.

But French yields later fell while German yields edged up and the spread with Germany narrowed to its tightest in a week after an opinion poll put centrist Emmanuel Macron first in the first round of voting, just ahead of far-right, anti-euro candidate Marine Le Pen, with a bigger gap to far-left representative Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Carmakers were broadly higher with Nissan rising 1.78 percent to 1,028.5 yen and Honda up 1.58 percent at 3,148 yen.

China's CSI300 index was fractionally higher.

Oil prices were down on Tuesday morning on reports that USA production would continue to rise in the near term.

That dwarfed any relief for market players after the U.S. Treasury department did not name China as a currency manipulator, avoiding an all-out confrontation on currencies between the world's two largest economies. The Canadian dollar was last trading at C$1.3314 to the greenback, or 75.30 US cents, stronger than Thursday's close of C$1.3328, or 75.05 USA cents.

Oil also fell below $53 a barrel amid tensions in the Korean peninsula and on news of increased U.S. drilling activity.

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After visiting the demilitarized zone, the heavily fortified border between North and South Korea, Pence warned the North not to test Trump, and national security adviser H.R.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.5 percent.

The broader Topix shed 0.3 percent to 1,455.46 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 0.3 flawless to 13,049.04.

The demand for other safe haven assets also picked up and gold hit a five-month high on Monday.

Benchmark 10-year notes were last down 7/32 in price to yield 2.252 percent, after dropping to 2.198 percent overnight, the lowest since November 17.

Asian stocks pulled back in early trade on Tuesday, while the dollar bounced back from a five-month low after the U.S. Treasury Secretary's comments supported a stronger currency, although escalating tensions over North Korea capped gains.

Safe-haven gold gained as much as 0.8 percent to hit a five-month high of $1,295.5 per ounce on continued concerns on tensions over North Korea.

Crude oil prices slipped 1 percent on Monday in subdued trading after a long Easter holiday weekend, on news of rising US shale production and profit-taking following three straight weeks of gains.

United States crude lost 0.1 per cent to trade at $52.59 a barrel, after falling 1 per cent on Monday, its biggest decline in nearly a month.

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