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Asian markets higher, China falls on disappointing imports

An improved tone in Europe/US, with broad-based equity market rally as well as the sell-off in bond markets, allowed Asian equity markets to rise today. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rose +2.64%, as GDP growth rose +0.2% in Q4 instead of the expected -0.4% recession. Hong Kong's Hang Seng (+1.59%) and South Korea's Kospi (+0.08%) also moved higher.

Mainland China's Shanghai Composite, however, fell -0.24% on disappointing imports in February. Imports fell even more than expected, from +28.8% to -15.2%, instead of -8.8% (YoY). Exports surprised on the upside, at +21.8%, instead of +10.1% consensus, which left the trade balance at surplus (15.30B) instead of -7.75B deficit, as expected.

Futures for the German DAX 30 and French CAC 40 are signaling a higher opening, by +0.49% and +0.61% respectively, ahead of German industrial production and LTRO repayment announcement at 11:00 GMT. US nonfarm payrolls will be the focus of the day.

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