China Posts First Export Increase in 9 Months
China says its exports surged in March to $160.8 billion, a sign that the world's second-largest economy is improving.
The 11.5 percent increase reported Wednesday by the customs department is the first since last June. On the other side of the ledger, imports declined 7.6 percent from a year earlier to $131 billion. The customs department says China finished March with a trade surplus of $29.9 billion.
The good news boosted Chinese stocks in early Wednesday trading, with the Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong indexes all gaining at or above two percent.
Panama Police Raid Mossack Fonseca Offices
Federal agents in Panama have raided the offices of the Mossack Fonseca law firm, which is linked to a number of offshore accounts associated with world leaders.
Panama's attorney general said in a statement that prosecutors and police were searching for any evidence that would establish the possible use of the firm for "illicit activities."
The officers converged on company headquarters late Tuesday to search the offices for evidence supporting the charges. Meanwhile the law firm posted on its Twitter feed that it "continues to cooperate with authorities" in the investigations.
The so-called "Panama Papers," leaked online more than a week ago, featured records from Mossack Fonseca that indicated it had set up offshore tax havens for a number of wealthy international clients.
Company founder Ramon Fonseca has said that the company has broken no laws and destroyed no documents.
The clients include Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin; and relatives of British Prime Minister David Cameron, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif; and China's President Xi Jinping.