Chinese trade data surprised investors on the upside, with exports falling only 1.4% y/y in December, much less than the 8% drop expected, and better than November's 6.8% slide. Imports fell 7.6%, compared to forecasts of a 11.5% drop. The reliability of the data was brought under questions, but markets nonetheless cheered them, with Japan's Nikkei surging 2.85% from a year-low, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index jumped 1.26%. Korea's KOSPI gained 1.52%. However, China's investors themselves ironically weren't impressed enough, with the shares' earlier gains evaporating and recording a loss of 0.30%.
Wall Street closed on high a note, after data showed job openings rise to 5.43 million in November, compared to October's 5.35 million jobs. The Dow Jones muscled up 117 points, or 0.72% to 16,516. NASDAQ rose 47 points, or 1.03% to 4,685, while S&P 500 added 15 points, or 0.78% to 1,938.
Safe haven currencies lost their appeal after the good China data, with the dollar taking instant advantage and rising 0.20% against a basket of its peers to 99.21. Dollar climbed 0.27% against the euro to 1.0832, while adding a solid half a percent against the yen to 118.28.
Oil got some support after China imported record amounts of the commodity last month, with U.S. West Texas Intermediary (WTI) crude futures jumping 40 cents, or 1.26% to $30.83, after dipping below $30 yesterday for the first time in 12 years. Brent crude futures however gave up 14 cents, or 0.46% to $31.25 a barrel.
Investors await a host of data later; with the Eurozone's industrial production for November on the forefront, expected to fall 0.3% m/m after growing 0.6% in October, which would be negative on the euro.
The official U.S. crude inventories survey will be released, expected to show an increase of 1.9 million barrels for the week ending in Jan.8, which would be negative for oil prices.