World markets rise as Chinese export data adds boost

TOKYO - World shares rose Wednesday after China reported improved exports in December, salving nerves about the world's No. 2 economy, though a rally in Shanghai's stock market was short-lived.

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KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX gained 1.2 per cent and France's CAC 40 rose 1.4 per cent to 4,438.48 in early trading. The FTSE 100 of Britain rose 0.8 per cent to 5,980.29. Dow futures were up 0.8 per cent and S&P 500 futures gained 0.9 per cent, suggesting a strong start for U.S. markets.

CHINA DATA: China's exports rose 2.3 per cent in December from a year earlier in yuan terms, reversing a 3.7 per cent drop in November, the Finance Ministry reported. Exports fell in dollar terms but the decrease was smaller than November's. The data suggest a weakening in the yuan may be helping boost demand for Chinese products, providing welcome support for the slowing economy.

THE QUOTE: "Asia markets are starting to sense that a short-term upside move could be on the cards," Chris Weston of IG said in a commentary. "Good trade data from China has also caused a second wave of buying, so watch copper prices through European trade to give some real backbone to the equity rally."

CHINA TURMOIL: The markets for Chinese stocks and the yuan markets showed tentative stability on Wednesday as the government moved to control fluctuations in the yuan. Late in the day Shanghai shares succumbed to selling pressure, reflecting persisting worries that recent market gyrations are a sign that the authorities are struggling to manage the slowdown in the world's No. 2 economy.

OIL PRICES: Crude oil prices tumbled overnight but bounced higher Wednesday in Asia. While the supply and demand factors that have driven prices nearly 18 per cent lower this year are a concern, and are hurting exporters and energy company shares, lower oil and gas costs are a boon for many resource-scarce Asian economies.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index jumped 2.9 per cent to 17,715.63 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 1.1 per cent to 19,934.88. South Korea's Kospi added 1.3 per cent to 1,916.28. The Shanghai Composite yoyo'd in and out of negative territory and closed down 2.4 per cent at 2,949.60. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.3 per cent to 4,987.40. Shares in New Zealand and Southeast Asia were mostly higher.

ENERGY: U.S. crude oil rose 86 cents, or 2.8 per cent, to $31.30 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Tuesday, it lost 97 cents, or 3.1 per cent, to $30.44 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose 55 cents, or 1.8 per cent, to $31.50. It fell 69 cents, or 2.2 per cent, to $30.86 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 118.28 yen from 117.89 yen on Tuesday. The euro fell to $1.0823 from $1.0834.


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