US China flag
US China flags Reuters

Asian shares pulled away from one-year lows on Thursday, after Beijing said it will hold trade talks with Washington this month, although Turkey's currency crisis and fears of an economic slowdown in China kept most markets in the red.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan stood down 0.3 percent, after shedding as much as 1.1 percent to hit its lowest since Aug. 11, 2017.

China on Thursday said a delegation led by its vice commerce minister would travel to the United States for talks in late August at the invitation of Washington.

That helped Chinese stocks pare losses, with the Shanghai Composite Index and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index both down 0.4 percent, having earlier fallen as much as 1.9 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Japan's Nikkei swung into positive territory, up 0.2 percent on the day, but was down as much as 1.5 percent in morning trade.

The euro rose 0.3 percent and the offshore Chinese yuan gained 0.4 percent following the news on China. U.S. stock futures rose 0.3 percent.

The announcement by the Chinese commerce ministry of the planned meeting in late August comes after a lull in talks between the two sides. The last official round of talks was in early June when U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross met Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Beijing.

Despite the modest reprieve, markets remain vulnerable as signs of a slowdown in the Chinese economy and Turkey's volatile currency keep investors on guard.

Wall Street's major indexes closed lower on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 down 0.8 percent, its biggest percentage drop since late June, amid disappointing earnings and escalating global trade worries.

"Negative news comes from Turkey and China every day is upsetting global markets," said Norihiro Fujito, senior market strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

"Also, Tencent's earnings shock hurt tech stocks, sending the tech-heavy Nasdaq lower. It reminded investors that the U.S.-China trade spat is starting to harm the health of even the tech firms, which had been a major driver of the U.S. share rally."

Chinese tech firm Tencent Holdings Ltd reported its first quarterly profit fall in nearly 13 years on weak gaming revenue. That knocked other Asian tech firms with South Korea's Samsung Electronics down to a one-year low.

Oil prices took an additional hit after data showed a surprise weekly increase in U.S. crude stockpiles, compounding worries about a weaker global economic growth outlook before bouncing back on the trade talk news.

U.S. crude oil last stood at $65.06 per barrel, after having fallen to two-month lows of $64.42 per barrel, following Wednesday's 3.2 percent fall.