Japan records $5.64 bn trade surplus in March

Japan's exports jump in March

The mining giant's shares are advancing nearly 1 percent. A revival of demand in China helped push exports up 16.4 percent from the year before to 1.3 trillion yen ($11 billion), while exports to the USA climbed 3.5 percent to 1.35 trillion yen ($12 billion). The Russell 2000 index, which is made up of smaller companies that tend to be more USA -focused, added 5.24 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,367.13 after a late gain a day ago.

Exports to the United States rose 3.5 percent in March from a year ago due to higher shipments of auto parts. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed 0.4 percent to 23,921.39 and Australia's S&P ASX 200 advanced 0.3 percent to 5,818.70. Evolution Mining reported gold production for the March quarter above its guidance despite the impact of Cyclone Debbie and said it still expects to comfortably deliver its full-year production outlook. Public Service Enterprise Group shed 92 cents, or 2 percent, to $44.42 and beauty products retailer Coty surrendered 35 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $18.06.

Japan's imports rose 15.8 per cent in March from a year ago, the largest increase since March 2014, as higher oil prices pushed up the value of energy imports. The Shanghai Composite index edged less than 0.1 percent higher to 3,172.10 and Southeast Asian benchmarks were higher.

The headline figure topped forecasts for a surplus of 605.6 billion yen following the upwardly revised 813.5 billion yen surplus in February (originally 813.389 billion yen).

Exports expanded 12.0 percent in March to 7.2 trillion yen ($66.12 billion), the strongest expansion since January 2015 and the fourth straight monthly gain, according to the Finance Ministry.

Japan will also provide March numbers for department store and convenience store sales.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 108.70 yen from 108.42 yen.

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NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. stocks are rebounding Wednesday morning as strong results from Morgan Stanley and rising bond yields send banks and other financial companies higher.

Vehicle exports rose 4 percent, while exports of electrical machinery were up 11 percent.

But with the outcome of the French presidential elections due at the weekend, markets are set to trade in well worn trading ranges, barring any major data surprises in Asia.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 index gained 0.4 percent to 18,511.52 and the Kospi in South Korea rose 0.5 percent to 2,148.33.

Crude oil futures plunged to the lowest in two weeks Wednesday, after government data showed an unexpectedly small drop in US oil inventories.

OIL: U.S. crude oil futures lost 27 to $52.14 per barrel in NY.

USA crude futures climbed 0.65 per cent to $50.77 a barrel, after posting a near 4 per cent drop overnight, the biggest one-day decline since March 8.

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