Asian stocks register some rebound; Australian unemployment drops to 4.9%

<p>Asian stocks were higher, contrary to morning indicators and offshore leads. The MSCI Asia Pacific index was flat but markets in Australia, Japan and China […]</p>

Asian stocks were higher, contrary to morning indicators and offshore leads.

The MSCI Asia Pacific index was flat but markets in Australia, Japan and China were higher. The Hang Seng was the exception, falling by around 1.2% in early afternoon trading.

The Australian dollar bounced after domestic unemployment fell unexpectedly to 4.9%. The data was a huge boost for the Gillard government which only released its budget two nights ago, indicating the desire to reach a surplus in 2012-13.

The Australian dollar was last trading at 1.0108 against the US dollar while the Euro was steady at 1.2951 and the dollar yen pair was slightly higher 79.68.

Gold continues to trade below US$1600/oz while copper looks like setting modest gains tonight, last settling at around US$3.69/lb.

In other regional economic news, China’s exports rose 4.9% in April from a year earlier, compared with growth of 8.5% as expected by market consensus estimates.  The composition of the numbers was disappointing.

Import growth of 0.3% trailed forecasts for a 10.9% gain. Still, despite the poor composition, the trade surplus was $18.4 billion, almost double estimates of $9.9 billion.

Elsewhere, Indonesia’s central bank held its benchmark rate at 5.75% as expected, saying inflation pressures going forward are so far under control. The central bank also said it sees the local currency weakening in response to global growth winding down. So far, inflation is within its 3.5-5.5% target range for this year.

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