Most Asian stock markets were trading higher on Monday (24 October), with the Shanghai Composite up 1.13% at 3,125.98 as of 6.57am GMT. This was amid better-than-expected exports in Japan for the month of September.

On Monday, data released by the Japanese government showed that the country's exports had declined 6.9% year-on-year in September. While this marked the 12th consecutive month of declines, it was much better than a Reuters poll that had forecast the drop to be 10.4%.

On the positive side, the data showed that export volumes had increased 4.7%. This marked the fastest gain in nearly two years and a second straight month of increase.

The fall in imports was, however, much higher. Data showed that this had declined 16.3% on-year in September. While this marked the 21st straight month of declines, it was in line with market expectations.

Apart from exports, there was another positive in the data release. Japan's preliminary Markit/Nikkei October manufacturing purchasing managers index, an indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector, was 51.7. This was better than September's 50.4 reading and indicated the fastest expansion in nine months, according to Reuters.

Indices in the region were trading as follows at 7.22am GMT:

Hong KongHang Seng Index23,592.47Up0.94%
JapanNikkei 22517,234.42Up0.29%
South KoreaKOSPI2,047.74Up0.74%
IndiaCNX Nifty8,721.05Up0.32%
AustraliaS&P/ASX 2005,408.50Down0.40%

Last week (21 October), the FTSE 100 closed 0.09% lower at 7,020.47, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed lower by 0.09% at 18,145.71.

Among commodities, oil prices declined after Iraq refused to participate in the Opec deal to cut production. While WTI crude oil was trading lower by 0.20% at $50.75 (£41.49) a barrel, Brent crude was trading 0.08% lower at $51.74 a barrel as of 7.27am GMT.