* Dollar gains vs yen on relief over Trump-Abe meeting
* Asian shares supported by Trump's tax cut plan hopes
* Copper hits 20-month on supply worries
* European shares seen gaining 0.2 pct
By Hideyuki Sano
TOKYO, Feb 13 Asian stocks rallied to 1-1/2-year
highs on Monday, helped by renewed hopes over U.S. President
Donald Trump's tax reform plans, generally upbeat global
economic data and a rebound in some commodities.
The U.S. dollar rose against the yen on relief that Trump
set aside tough campaign rhetoric over security and jobs in a
relaxed meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with no
mention of currency policy or any protectionist measures.
"The global economy seems fairly sound now, compared to last
year, as China is supporting its economy through fiscal
measures. The downside risk in the U.S. economy is small due to
Trump's policies," Masayuki Kichikawa, chief macro strategist at
Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
gained 0.3 percent, with resource-related stocks
in Australia leading the gains. Markets in Taiwan and
Singapore scaled their highest levels since mid-2015.
Japan's Nikkei rose 0.4 percent.
European shares are expected to follow suit, with
spread-better seeing a 0.2 percent gain in Germany's DAX
and Britain's FTSE at open.
Comments from Trump on Thursday that he plans to announce
the most ambitious tax reform plan since the Reagan era in the
next few weeks rekindled hopes for big tax cuts.
Economic data from major economies has been upbeat,
including Friday's Chinese trade figures while U.S. corporate
earnings have been also solid so far.
On top of this, the Trump administration has provided some
relief to global financial markets in the last few days,
especially as the U.S. president has avoided ratcheting up
protectionist comments that have rattled investors over the past
In the weekend meeting with Abe, Trump held off from
repeating harsh rhetoric that accused Japan of taking advantage
of U.S. security aid, stealing American jobs and "playing money
Those cordial discussions drove the dollar as much as 0.9
percent against the yen to 114.17 yen.
It last stood at 113.69 yen, extending its rebound from
111.59 yen touched last Tuesday, which was its lowest level in
A senior Japanese government spokesman said Abe and Trump
did not discuss currency issues and that the U.S. President did
not request a bilateral trade deal.
The official told reporters that a U.S.-Japan economic
dialogue will be led by Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso
and Vice President Mike Pence. It will address fiscal and
monetary policies as well as infrastructure projects and
"We can expect a realistic approach as the dialogue will be
led by Pence and Aso. It is reassuring that an unpredictable
Trump is not in it," said Yasunobu Katsuki, senior primary
analyst at Mizuho Securities.
Trump's change of tack to agree to honour the "one China"
policy during a phone call with China's leader Xi Jinping last
week was also received positively in markets as a more realistic
approach, helping to boost risk sentiment.
Trump's tax cut hopes offered broad support for the dollar,
with the euro slipping 0.1 percent to $1.0631, edging
near Friday's three-week low of $1.0608.
The common currency has been dogged by fears about a strong
showing for French far-right leader Marine Le Pen ahead of a
The offshore yuan also weakened 0.2 percent to the weakest
level in almost a month.
In commodities, copper hit its highest levels since
May 2015 after shipments were shut off from the world's two
biggest copper mines - due to a strike in Chile and an export's
ban by Indonesia.
It last traded at $6,157 per tonne, up 1.1 percent on the
Other metals were also buoyed, with LME zinc
advancing 0.9 percent to within sight of its highest levels in
more than nine years and lead edging up 1.7 percent
towards its five-year high hit in November.
Oil prices dipped slightly after strong gains on Friday on
reports that OPEC members delivered more than 90 percent of the
output cuts they pledged in a landmark deal that took effect in
International benchmark Brent crude futures fell 0.1 percent
to $56.65 per barrel.
(Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore & Shri Navaratnam)