wall street
A trader reacts as he watches screens on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York on Feb 5, 2018.Reuters

Asian shares edged higher on Thursday, tracking gains in U.S. equities as fears over a global trade-war abated.

Investors spooked by the exit of Gary Cohn, seen as a key advocate for free trade within the Trump administration, took solace in comments from White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders who said the U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium imports could exclude Canada, Mexico and a clutch of other countries.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2 percent, led by gains in South Korean shares.

The gains followed Wall Street, where the S&P 500 ended down just 0.05 percent at 2,726.8 after an initial loss of almost one percent.

Back home, SGX Nifty, an early indicator of the Nifty 50's trend in India, signals a positive start for the domestic markets after the benchmark Sensex declined 284 points or 0.85 percent to close at 33,033 on Wednesday.

The partially convertible rupee closed at 64.89 on Wednesday, up 0.10 percent from its previous close of 65.11.

So far this year, the rupee weakened 1.8 percent, while foreign investors have bought $173 million and $877 million in equity and debt markets, respectively.

Policy decisions: European Central Bank monetary policy decision on Thursday followed by Bank of Japan policy decision and briefing on Friday.

China GDP: China on Monday kept its 2018 economic growth target of around 6.5 percent. The outlook was released ahead of Premier Li Keqiang's report to the National People's Congress gathering in Beijing.

Crude check: Brent crude gained 0.31 percent at $64.54 per barrel while the West Texas Intermediate crude advanced 0.36 percent at $61.32 a barrel.