HONG KONG (AFP) - Asian markets were mostly higher on Friday as traders welcomed positive trade data out of the United States, Japan and China that eased concerns over the state of the global economy. And the yen, which hit a 15-year high against the dollar this week, slipped to give Japanese exporters a much-needed break. Tokyo added 1.55 percent, or 140.78 points, to 9,239.17, while Hong Kong rose 0.43 percent, or 90.12 points, to 21,257.39 and Shanghai gained 0.26 percent, or 6.86 points, to 2,663.21. However, Sydney was 0.48 percent, or 21.9 points, lower at 4,560.3. Japanese sentiment was stoked after the government said the economy expanded more than initially thought in the second quarter, soothing fears that a recovery was shuddering to a halt. Gross domestic product grew an annualised 1.5 percent in the April-June quarter, well above an initial estimate of 0.4 percent and in line with economists forecasts as firms ramped up capital spending, data showed. Traders cheered US Labor Department figures that said the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits last week fell faster than expected to 451,000, down 27,000 from the previous weeks revised figure. That came as the Department of Commerce said the US trade deficit dropped more than expected in July as exports reached their highest level in two years. The US jobs market is showing signs of recovery, so thats easing worries about macroeconomic conditions and leading to more risk appetite, Taurus Investment & Securities Oh Tae-Dong in South Korea told Dow Jones Newswires. The news lifted confidence in the US economy and coupled with last weeks figures showing fewer people than expected had been laid off last month eased concerns of a double-dip recession. On Wall Street the Dow edged up 0.27 percent. Asian currency traders used the data to sell the yen. The dollar rose to 84.00 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade compared with 83.85 dollars in New York Thursday while the euro lifted to 106.93 yen from 106.47. The euro advanced to 1.2728 dollars from 1.2697 dollars in New York. The yen was also pressed after private Incubator Bank of Japan was told to halt operations and filed for bankruptcy Friday, in the countrys first bank failure since 2003. China revealed Friday that imports picked up in August by a forecast-busting 35.2 percent to 119.27 billion dollars, suggesting the slowdown in the Chinese economy is not as severe as feared. A 25 percent rise had been tipped. It also said its trade surplus shrank, which analysts said could take some pressure off Beijing over its currency rate, which many countries argue is being undervalued to give Chinese exporters an unfair advantage. China is due on Saturday to release key data on inflation, retail sales and industrial output. Oil was mixed. New Yorks main contract, light sweet crude for October delivery rose 52 cents to 74.77 US dollars a barrel. Brent North Sea crude for October delivery fell 32 cents to 77.15 dollars. Gold closed at 1,248.50-1,249.50 US dollars an ounce in Hong Kong, down from Thursdays closing price of 1,255.00-1,256.00 dollars. In other markets: Seoul closed 1.02pc, or 18.22 points, higher at 1,802.58. Taipei rose 0.70 percent, or 54.57 points, to 7,890.11. Wellington rose 0.3 percent, or 9.23 points, at 3,161.00. Bangkok rose 0.33 percent, or 3.08 points to close at 924.57. Singapore, Manila, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Mumbai were closed for public holidays on Friday.