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Asia-Pacific shares mixed; data shows Japan’s exports surging in April

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Thursday morning trade, with data showing Japan’s exports surging in April.

In morning trade, the Nikkei 225 was largely flat while the Topix index edged about 0.1% higher.

Japan’s exports rose 38% in April as 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 in a Reuters poll.

Mainland Chinese stocks dipped, with the Shanghai composite down 0.34% while the Shenzhen component declined fractionally. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong shed 0.56%.

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 expectations of the majority of traders in a snap Reuters poll.

South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.49%.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.57%. 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 in a Reuters poll.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded about 0.1% lower.

Stocks on Wall Street saw a wild session overnight, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing 164.62 points lower at 33,896.04 after plunging nearly 600 points at its low of the day. The S&P 500 shed 0.29% to end the trading day at 4,115.68 while the Nasdaq Composite was fractionally lower at 13,299.74.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.209 after a recent bounce from below 90.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.11 per dollar, weaker than levels below 108.8 against the greenback seen earlier in the week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7736, weaker than levels above $0.78 seen earlier this week.

Oil prices were lower in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down about 0.1% to $66.60 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also declined 0.11% to $63.29 per barrel.

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