5 Min Read
* Caution ahead of oil producers' meeting caps stocks
* China economy grows 6.7 pct in Q1 as expected
* Shares steady after 2.5 pct weekly rise, at 2016 highs
* Oil dips ahead of Doha meet after 11 pct April jump
By Marc Jones
LONDON, April 15 (Reuters) - Reassuring Chinese GDP data helped stocks, commodity markets and the dollar consolidate strong weekly gains on Friday, as the focus turned to a meeting of top oil producers about a potential output freeze.
Moves in most markets were small in Europe but urges to lock in some profit was beginning to kick in after a 2.5 percent weekly rally in world shares, a strong run by the dollar and an 11 percent surge in oil prices this month.
European shares edged down 0.4 percent as traders top-sliced some the 3.5 percent gains they have made this week with Wall Street's main markets expected to drop slightly from 4-month highs when they reopen later.
The dollar had eased off the pedal too, having made more than 1 percent against both the yen and the euro this week, something of a turnaround after a weak start to the year.
Traders were waiting for IMF and G20 meetings in Washington later for signs from financial leaders on the next stages of their efforts to drag most of the developed world out of a debilitating cycle of debt and very low inflation.
Speculation was also still circling about whether top oil producers led by Saudi Arabia and Russia will be able to hammer a deal in Doha, Qatar on Sunday to curb output which is currently churning out around 2 million barrels of excess oil a day.
"This week we had some interesting movements especially in euro/dollar and dollar/yen and a widespread rebound in market sentiment," said Rabobank economist Philip Marey, adding that Thursday's surprise move by Singapore's central bank to ease policy had fuelled hopes of another round of global stimulus.
Data from China overnight had drawn approval as it showed the country's giant economy grew at 6.7 percent in the first quarter year-on-year, bolstering hopes its slowdown may be bottoming out.
The major currencies seen as most dependent on China were the main gainers. The Australian and New Zealand dollars rose 0.3 and 0.9 percent respectively, also helped by sizable week's gains in key metals like copper.
In a sign of re-emerging risk appetite, the Baltic Dry index which reflects global shipping and trade and seen as somewhat of a bellwether of the global economy, was on course for a ninth straight weekly rise, its best run since 2003.
"Chinese economic data is showing signs of stabilisation, including recent PMI numbers, as well as the latest figures on industrial production and retail sales," said Suan Teck Kin, economist at the United Overseas Bank in Singapore.
Nerves about Greece's finances were also resurfacing amid signs that its bailout programme may be showing cracks again.
Greek bond yields were set to record their biggest weekly rise in two months as investors start to fret about delays to Athens' bailout package and over the extent to which the IMF will participate in a new deal.
The head of IMF, Christine Lagarde had reiterated on Thursday the euro zone needed to write off some of Athens' debt and rework plans to get the country back on track.
"We will not walk away," Lagarde said during a question-and-answer session. "Our form of participation may vary depending on the commitments of Greece and the undertaking of the European partners, but we will not walk away."
Japan's Nikkei, one of the biggest losers of 2016 so far, closed 6.5 percent higher for the week following the drop back in the yen.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan crept up 0.1 percent. That index has gained about 3.6 percent on the week during which it hit a five-month high, helped by a slight thaw in pessimism over the Chinese economy and an earlier surge in crude oil prices.
It is part of a global rise. Both the MSCI All World index and the S&P 500 have hit their highest points of the year this week and Emerging Market stocks have racked up their best gain in a month this week.
With oil traders waiting cautiously for the Doha oil producer meeting, U.S. crude oil dropped back below $41 a barrel, while Brent sagged to $42.85 a barrel.
The strong week for risk assets meant safe-haven gold was on course for a weekly loss, while sterling, which has been buffeted by UK Brexit vote uncertainty all year, was on course for a small weekly rise at $1.4190.
It had been dampened on Thursday after Bank of England policymakers voted unanimously to keep interest rates at a record low of 0.5 percent. (Reporting by Marc Jones, editing by Pritha Sarkar)