* Equities, oil gain as China trade data trumps forecasts
* China December exports grow 14.1 pct, imports up 6 pct
* European stocks held in check by ECB meeting
By Richard Hubbard
LONDON, Jan 10 (Reuters) - World shares, commodities and
growth-linked currencies rose on Thursday as
stronger-than-expected Chinese trade data added to growing
confidence about a pickup in global economic activity.
However, gains in Europe's equity markets were more limited
as investors wait to hear what European Central Bank President
Mario Draghi will say about the outlook for the recession-hit
euro area after the bank's policy meeting later in the day.
"We're not expecting him to move on policy, but what Mr
Draghi might have to say could be of interest with respect to
possible interest rate cuts further down the line," Michael
Hewson, senior analyst at CMC Markets, said.
An auction by Spain of up to 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion)
of new debt was also being closely watched for clues on investor
sentiment towards the struggling peripheral nations of Europe.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 was little
changed in early trade, just below a 2-year high of 1,169.19
points, with London's FTSE 100, Paris's CAC-40
and Frankfurt's DAX also flat.
But strong gains in Asian markets earlier had lifted the
MSCI world equity index up 0.15 percent.
A 0.3 percent gain in U.S. stock futures also hinted
at a solid Wall Street start but worries about possible earnings
weakness in the current reporting season were capping the gains.
China reported that its exports had rebounded surprisingly
sharply in December to hit a seven-month high, while imports
grew at double the expected rate.
A broad measure of Chinese credit growth also expanded
strongly, adding to evidence that annual growth in the world's
second-largest economy was headed towards 8 percent in the final
quarter of 2012.
The data sent the Australian dollar to a three-week high of
$1.0568 and contributed to further falls in the
The yen has been weakening on expectations of massive fiscal
spending and aggressive monetary easing in the coming weeks.
The dollar was up 0.4 percent to 88.22 yen, inching
closer to its highest since July 2010 of 88.48 reached on
Friday. The euro was also up 0.4 percent to 115.25
yen. Last week it hit 115.99 yen, its highest since July 2011.
The single currency was little changed at $1.3060
ahead of the European Central Bank's policy meeting, where it is
expected to keep interest rates steady.
The growth in imports revealed in the Chinese data also
stoked hopes of greater demand from the world's second largest
in the commodity lifting copper, iron ore and oil prices.
London copper was up 0.5 percent at $8,125 a tonne
while U.S. crude futures rose 0.6 percent to $93.66 a
barrel and Brent futures added 0.5 percent to $112.27.