Friday, the Bank of Japan board members predicted that the Japanese economy is likely to continue to deteriorate through the end of 2009, minutes from the April 6 and 7 monetary policy meeting revealed.

Some of the board members said additional steps may be required to assist corporate financing, and that the purchase of corporate bonds was acting as a safety net for the near term, although they did not want the bank to get overly involved in the process.

India's inflation moved higher for the third week in a row, but held near a three-decade low. Inflation for the week ended April 25 rose to 0.70% from 0.57% the week before, data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry revealed. It stood at 8.27% for the corresponding week of the preceding year.

Elsewhere, the Reserve Bank of India said the nation's foreign reserves stood at US$251.702 billion as on May 1, down from US$253.091 billion as on April 24.

The Department of Statistics Malaysia said in a report that the trade surplus stood at MYR 12.5 billion in March, up from MYR 11.97 billion in February. Economists were looking the trade surplus of MYR 11 billion. Exports dropped 15.6% year-over-year in March, while imports declined 28.7%.

Philippines' M3 money supply grew 15.6% year-on-year in March, faster than a 14.6% rise in February, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said.

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