Asian trade: Asian markets rose for the first time in the last few days upon Mr. Bernanke’s announcement saying that the U.S. economy might recover this year; this also helped the U.S. equity markets to rise the most in a month.

Another positive impulse for the Asian shares came from the currency market, where the yen touched the lowest value in the last three months. This certainly helped investors overcome the extremely poor report released tonight from Japan, which showed that its exports plunged 45% from one year ago, reaching the lowest level on record.

Japan and many other Asian countries built their economies around the exporting market, and such a strong decline can only indicate that problems will persist. Japan’s exports to the U.S. and the Euro-area both dropped by 50%, the most on record, while car exports plunged nearly 70%.

Also in Asian, the government of South Korea joins the list of authorities propping the banking system. The government will inject over $8 billion into the local financial system, avoiding a collapse similar to what the Western economies experienced. The South Korean financial system is not yet affected in a huge measure by the credit crunch, but analysts forecast that the number of un-performing loans will rise substantially over the coming year.

The Nikkei rose 115.35 points (1.59%) to 7,383.91. The Australian S&P gained 19.50 points (0.59%) to 3,351.10.

Crude oil dropped tonight as the economy is set to slow even more. Crude oil for March delivery fell $0.10 to $39.85.

Gold extended the decline seen in the last few sessions of trading. Bullion for immediate delivery fell $4.60 to $964.90.