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Asian Stocks Mainly Higher, Japan’s Exports Surge in April

Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Thursday, with data showing Japan’s exports surging in April.

The Nikkei 225 finished the trading day 0.19% higher at 28,098.25 while the Topix index advanced slightly to 1,895.92.

asian markets
Nikkei 225 Index Performance Chart

Japan’s exports rose 38% in April compared with a year ago, data from the country’s Ministry of Finance showed Thursday. That was higher than an expected 30.9% increase predicted by economists.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.27% to close at 7,019.60. Australia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 5.5% in April, the country’s Bureau of Statistics said Thursday. That compared against expectations for a 5.6% unemployment rate.

Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed, with the Shanghai Composite down 0.11% to 3,506.94 while the Shenzhen component gained 0.35% to 14,535.10. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong shed 0.5% on the day to 28,450.29.

China’s benchmark lending rate was kept unchanged in May, with the one-year loan prime rate (LPR) sitting at 3.85%. The five-year LPR was also held steady at 4.65%. That was in line with the expectations of the majority of traders.

South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.34% to close at 3,162.28.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was fractionally higher.
Asian Markets Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 89.982 after an earlier high of 90.232.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.95 per dollar, weaker than levels below 108.8 against the greenback seen earlier in the week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7756, weaker than levels above $0.78 seen earlier this week.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures above the flatline as they traded at $66.68 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained about 0.2% to $63.49 per barrel.