Asian markets advanced for a third consecutive day on somewhat light volume. The market advanced as traders remained focused on the Japanese stimulus package. 

On Friday, the Japanese prime minister announced a third stimulus plan that should theoretically revive the economy. Until now, the three fiscal measures totaled $560 billion or almost 13% of the gross domestic product, considerably more than Japan’s European counterparts. However, Trade Team notes, “The third stimulus package might also have a poor result for the real economy, since the Japanese government appears unwilling to take decisive measures. Moreover, this is a problem that has haunted Japan for almost two decades, and it looks like the political class is still not aware of it.”

In China, the central bank announced that the number of new loans issued and underwritten reached a new record high in March. This happened at a time when Western economies have credit lines that connect consumers and business to banks that are almost drying up. “Many of the new loans were promoted by the measures taken to help the economy pass the credit crisis. Most Chinese banks are state owned, so it is very likely that the ruling party might have ordered banks to loosen their lending standards; something that the Fed and European central banks would dearly love to implement.” Trade Team adds.

Overnight, the Nikkei rose 15.12 points (0.16%) to 8,980.83. The Australian S&P/Asx was closed for business. European markets are closed ahead of a full U.S. trading session on Monday.

Crude oil for May delivery was recently trading at $51.88 per barrel.

Gold for May delivery was recently trading at $885.60.