LONDON (Reuters) - Signs of resilience in China’s slowing economy on Thursday ended a 3-day selloff in world equities prompted by talk the U.S. Federal Reserve could soon wind back its stimulus program.
U.S. stock index futures pointed to Wall Street joining in the rebound later although weekly jobless claims data at 0830 ET could reignite speculation on when the Fed will begin to trim its $85 billion monthly bond purchases. .N
China reported exports and imports had risen surprisingly strongly in July, easing fears that a slowdown in the world’s second largest economy would threaten the improving outlook in Europe and the fragile recovery in the United States.
But analysts were cautious about reading too much into the trade numbers, and warned any rebound in China was unlikely while the government pushes on with efforts to shift the giant economy away from debt-funded investment and manufacturing.
“These are fairly uninspiring numbers. They’re probably not strong enough yet to convince us the worst is behind us,” said Chris Scicluna, head of Economic Research and Daiwa Capital Markets.
Asian shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS still got a lift from the numbers, gaining 0.8 percent to recover more than half their previous day’s losses.
Copper hit its highest price in nearly two months, because China is the biggest consumer of the metal, and the commodity-linked Australian dollar rose 0.9 percent.
Brent oil had edged towards $108 a barrel as the trade figures showed China’s crude imports hitting record highs, but soon fell back to be around $106.90.
“We’re in the seasonally slower months for (commodity market) demand, so we’re still expecting a bit of near-term weakness,” Natalie Rampono at ANZ Bank said.
Even so, the Chinese data drove an upsurge in investor appetite for mining and basic resource stocks .SXPP which enabled Europe’s broad FTSE Eurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 to resume a six-week rally to rise 0.5 percent by midday. .EU
MSCI’s world equity index .MIWD00000PUS edged up 0.1 percent as a result although it is still on course for its worst weekly decline since late June, when speculation of an early end to the Fed’s stimulus program first surfaced.
The dollar languished at seven-week lows against other major currencies due to all the uncertainty over when the Fed might start trimming the amount its injects into the financial system each month to boost the economy. <FED/>
“There are uncertainties about the timing of Fed tapering, whether it will be September or later, and about how fast they will start reducing their bond-buying program,” said Niels Christensen, currency strategist at Nordea.
The dollar index .DXY had dropped to 81.15, bringing its losses to around 4 percent in just a month, while the euro rose to a seven-week high of $1.3353.
Traders have been betting the Fed would be well ahead of other central banks in scaling back its easy money policy, and believe the resulting difference in government bond yields will make the dollar more attractive.
But inconclusive economic data and mixed comments from Fed officials have made the timing of the move less clear, easing yields on U.S. government debt back from their highs. <FED/>
Ten-year U.S. Treasury note yields edged down to 2.6 percent from 2.755 percent recorded in early July.
Ten-year German bond yields eased in line with the U.S. market, dipping 2.2 basis points to 1.67 percent with news out of Japan also supporting prices.
Japanese investors piled into foreign bonds in July, making their biggest net purchase in three years - early evidence that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s expansionary policies are having the desired effect.
European debt and equity markets showed little reaction to Germany’s weak trade data, with analysts saying the poor June performance was more than compensated for by startling jumps in industry orders and factory output in July.
“Trade probably didn’t provide any support to Germany in the second quarter and yet that growth looks to have been pretty good,” said Daiwa’s Scicluna.
Economists reckon Europe’s largest economy picked up momentum in the second quarter after an anemic first three months when it expanded at just 0.1 percent.
Editing by Ruth Pitchford