SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Asian markets traded higher Monday, with Tokyo stock markets heading close to a five-year high after a meeting of global finance leaders lent support to Japan's aggressive monetary policy.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 2 percent to 13,593.74 after a statement by finance ministers and central bank presidents from the world's biggest economies appeared to give its blessing to aggressive credit-easing moves pushed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, saying they were intended to stop prolonged deflation and support domestic demand.
Japan's program has driven the value of the yen down by more than 20 percent against the dollar since October. On Monday, the first trading day after the Group of 20 meeting, the dollar was 0.4 percent higher at 99.82 yen. The last time it was above 100 yen was in April 2009.
The decline of the yen has stirred up concerns among Japanese exporters' key rivals, such as the U.S. and South Korea that Japan's real goal is to weaken the yen as a way to gain trade advantages. But officials at the G-20 meeting were reluctant to voice any opposition to the Bank of Japan's monetary stimulus program.
Japanese officials said they were pleased with the support they had received at the Washington meetings for their aggressive efforts to lift the world's third largest economy out of a two-decade slump.
"There has been international understanding" of our efforts, Haruhiko Kuroda, head of the Bank of Japan, told reporters at the end of the meeting.
After the G-20 meeting, Samsung Securities in Seoul revised down its forecast of the yen's value against the U.S. dollar that the dollar will likely reach 105 yen at the end of this year.
"Contrary to the market's expectation, (the G-20 meeting) approved the Bank of Japan's aggressive monetary easing," James Huh, economist at Samsung Securities, said in a report. "Expectations were high in the market that the G-20 statement would try to stop a steep decline of yen."
Expectations that the yen will further weaken sent shares of Japanese auto and tech exporters higher. Toyota Motor Corp. advanced 1.8 percent and Sharp Corp. rose 1.7 percent.
Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea's Kospi added 0.7 percent to 1,920.59. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.2 percent to 21,961.34. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.5 percent to 4,954.20. Benchmarks in Taiwan, New Zealand and Thailand also advanced while shares in mainland China and Indonesia fell.
Benchmark oil for May delivery was up 50 cents to $88.51 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 28 cents to close at $88.01 on the Nymex on Friday.
In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3066 from $1.3059 late Friday in New York. The dollar rose to 99.67 yen from 99.65 yen.
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