Global Markets: Asian shares edge up, dollar at fresh peak vs yen
Preceding the release of U.S. nonfarm payrolls, China said February exports grew 21.8 percent from a year earlier, more than double the rise forecast, while imports fell 15.2 percent, deeper than an 8.8 percent drop forecast.
"The growth in exports probably reflected an improving global economic environment, including the United States, while the drop in imports is likely distorted by the effect from the Lunar Year holidays during the month," said Hirokazu Yuihama, a senior strategist at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo.
"The fall in imports does not suggest weakness in domestic demand and the trade data overall doesn't change the outlook for a moderate recovery in China," he said.
The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.3 percent, barely moved by the Chinese data.
Australian shares added 0.3 percent while the Australian dollar briefly rose after the Chinese data to around $1.0265 before easing to trade down 0.2 percent at 1.0244. New Zealand shares earlier hit a record high.
Hong Kong shares rose 0.9 percent while Shanghai shares was nearly flat, erasing earlier gains.
Prices were capped as investors cautiously awaited key U.S. jobs due later in the session for further signs of strength in the world's largest economy. Analysts expect a rise of 160,000 jobs in February.
Thursday's report showed the number of Americans
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