Thursday, the day remained rather quiet in Asia with very few nations releasing statistical data.

In other events, the 6th Islamic Financial Services Board Summit started in Singapore.

In the welcome speech of the summit, Managing Director of Monetary Authority of Singapore, Heng Swee Keat said the global sukuk market remains a relatively new asset class with much room to grow out. Sukuk is an Islamic financial certificate, similar to a bond in Western finance, which complies with Islamic religious law of Sharia,

In the first half of 2009, about US$1.3 billion in sovereign sukuk issuance will come from Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, Heng said. More private sector issuers are expected to tap the sukuk market and to attract new investors and clients, he added.

In the same conference, Saudi Arabia's central bank Governor Mohammed al-Jasser said the U.S. dollar is serving well as currency peg and will continue to peg its currency with the dollar. Rasheed al-Maraj central bank governor of Bahrain also said there would be no change in their foreign exchange rate policy.

Japanese monetary base grew 8.2% in April to 95.62 trillion yen, following a 6.9% annual gain in March. According to a Bank of Japan report, seasonally adjusted monetary base was up 17.4% year-on-year in April.

Elsewhere, Taiwan's Ministry of Finance reported that exports dropped 34.3% annually in April to US$14.8 billion and imports slipped 41.2% to US$12.7 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of trade surplus of US$2.13 billion.

Other reports from Asia were related to official reserves.

The Philippine central bank said nation's gross international reserves increased to US$39.46 billion in April from US$39.04 billion in March. The present level of reserves is sufficient to meet 6.3 months of imports, higher than the 6.22 months in March.

Meanwhile, the Bank Negara Malaysia said international reserves totaled US$87.7 billion as on April 30, which is sufficient to finance 8.1 months of retained imports and four times the short-term external debt.

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