LONDON, Feb 12 — Global shares were on track to post their longest winning run in five months as they rose for a sixth straight day today, boosted by upbeat trade data from China and a US House deal extending the federal borrowing authority.
Chinese exports and imports handily beat expectations in January, confounding market expectations that the world’s second-largest economy is mired in a deepening slowdown and reviving appetite for emerging market assets that had been battered in recent weeks.
The cheer spread to Europe, one of China’s largest trading partners, where the FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.5 per cent.
MSCI’s index of emerging market stocks added 0.9 per cent , extending its bounce from five-month lows hit earlier this month. The Australian dollar hit a one-month high on the prospect of stronger demand from China, Australia’s largest export market.
The broader MSCI All-Country World Index was up 0.3 per cent in its longest winning streak since September.
“Our analysis suggests that emerging market equities are discounting an outcome substantially below current consensus forecasts, so of course a better-than-expected outcome is going to help the case,” said Ian Scott, a global equity strategist at Barclays in London.
Investors also took heart from a strong performance from shares in the United States, where Congress agreed to advance legislation extending US borrowing authority and the Federal Reserve’s new chief pledged to keep interest rates at ultra-low levels for longer.
Janet Yellen, who chairs the Fed, said the central bank would consider more than the unemployment rate when evaluating the condition of the US labour market, broadening the scope of her predecessor’s forward guidance on monetary policy.
“Everyone is more relaxed now that those issues are officially off the table,” said John Carey, portfolio manager at Pioneer Investment Management in Boston.
The Bank of England’s own forward guidance will come under scrutiny today as the bank is expected to use its inflation report to firm up a message that interest rates will not rise until well into next year.
Sterling recovered a foothold after some early losses but there were some bets for a weaker pound in place.
“We expect the pound to come back under broad pressure, especially if the BoE confirms a new forward guidance framework that allows loose monetary policy to be maintained despite the recent recovery,” Morgan Stanley said in a note.
A speech by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will also be in the spotlight today.
The calmer mood in equity markets was reflected in the VSTOXX index of euro zone equity volatility falling for a sixth day to lows not seen since late January. The VIX index of US stock volatility dived 4.9 per cent to 14.51 , pulling sharply away from its recent peak at 21.48.
Among commodities, spot gold snapped a three-day winning streak, giving back some of its sharp overnight gains as stocks rallied. But it was still not far from a three-month high of US$1,293.44 hit yesterday.
Brent crude edged higher toward US$109 (RM364.06) a barrel and London copper climbed, reversing losses from the previous session and moving away from a two-month low of US$7,016 touched on February 4. — Reuters