Japanese economic reports on Thursday were mixed.
Reuters reports a fall in bank lending in April.
Japanese bank lending fell in April from a year earlier, matching the biggest decline in four years and showing that companies' funding needs remain weak despite an economic recovery and recent easing steps by the central bank...
Outstanding loans held by Japanese banks fell 1.8 percent in the year to April, matching the annual decline in March, which was the biggest fall in four years.
Other data, however, were not bad.
Underscoring the nascent economic recovery and the lack of corporate need for loans was a 13.2 percent decline in Japanese corporate bankruptcies for April from a year earlier to 1,154 cases.
Total debt involved plunged 48 percent to 270 billion yen ($2.9 billion), the lowest since August 1975...
Other data showed Japan's current account surplus rose 65 percent in March from a year earlier to its biggest amount in two years, as exports steadily pick up thanks to brisk demand, particularly from Asia.
And confidence is returning to the economy.
Japan's service sector sentiment index, seen as a good leading indicator on the economy, also rose to a three-year high.
Details from another Reuters report showed that the service sector sentiment index rose to 49.8 in April, its highest in three years, from 47.4 in March, while the outlook index rose to 49.9 in April from 47.0 in March.
US reports on Thursday were also relatively positive. Reuters reports:
The number of U.S. workers filing for jobless benefits fell only slightly last week, suggesting the unemployment rate will remain elevated even as recovery in the labor market becomes entrenched.
Initial claims for state unemployment aid slipped 4,000 to 444,000 in the week to May 8, the Labor Department said on Thursday, maintaining this year's very modest downward trend even as other job market indicators show major improvement.
The deflation threat appears to be fast receding.
In a second report, the department said import prices increased 0.9 percent last month on higher petroleum costs after rising 0.5 percent in March. However, excluding the volatile petroleum category, prices were up only 0.3 percent, suggesting little inflationary pressure.
And the housing market provided further hope for stabilisation and recovery.
Separately, in another positive sign for the economy, lenders initiated far fewer new actions against struggling U.S. homeowners last month, RealtyTrac said on Thursday.
April foreclosure filings fell 9 percent from March and 2 percent from a year ago, the first year-over-year drop since RealtyTrac started tracking annual foreclosure rates in January 2006.
However, banks took control of a record 92,432 properties in April, up 1 percent from a month earlier and 45 percent from a year ago.