Global markets surge as China trade figures bounce back

Global markets have reacted positively to stronger-than-expected trade data from China showing that the nation's exports last month had returned to growth for the first time in nine months.

Chinese exports
In yuan terms, Beijing said exports were 18.7 per cent higher than a low point a year earlier – news that cheered markets worldwide and pushed up commodity prices, particularly industrial metals such as zinc and copper.Stock markets were further boosted by reports that Russia and Saudi Arabia had agreed to limit oil output ahead of a producers' meeting in Doha on Sunday.The Chinese trade data for March also showed a year-on-year decline in imports of 1.7 per cent, resulting in a trade surplus of 194.6bn yuan (£21 billion). On Friday, Beijing will publish GDP growth figures for the first quarter of the year, which are expected to show a 6.8 per cent rise.Analysts said that, after a year when the Chinese slowdown had dampened expectations of global growth, the trade figures hinted that the situation might not be as grim as many had expected."The trade numbers are very, very strong. On the ground, the fundamentals appear to be consolidating. On the demand side, the property market has certainly been very supportive," said Xiao Fu, head of commodity market strategy at Bank of China International in London.Robin Brant, BBC News reporter in Shanghai, commented, "Almost everything is up, so on the face of it good news for China. But when you look at the figures for this time last year, there really was only one way to go."If you marry the export trade numbers – way past forecasts – with the increase in demand for some raw goods like crude oil and iron ore, you see an economy that appears to be on the rebound."China Business News reported, "The report created positive sentiment among traders and raised hopes for further improvement in the world's second-largest economy. Analysts believe that trade figures are encouraging but monitoring of economic indicators in the coming months is needed to ascertain if the economy is back on track."Narrowing import decline suggests that domestic demand in the country is picking up pace, which would eventually lead to recovery in the economy."The Financial Times said, "Global stocks are challenging their highs for the year as better than expected trade data from China ease growth fears, sparking a surge in risk appetite that is reducing demand for the yuan, Treasuries and gold."The bullish mood is further underpinned by oil trading near its most expensive in four months – though crude is seeing a touch of profit-taking as the dollar strengthens."

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