Global stocks keep close to four-and-a-half-year high
London — Strong data from China kept world shares near a record high on Monday, sent copper to a 4-1/2 month peak and left emerging market stocks buyers cheering an almost 5% gain in the past five days.
Figures from Beijing showed China’s economy grew at a faster than forecast 6.9% year on year in the second quarter thanks to a pick-up in industrial output and domestic consumption and as investment remained strong.
Asia shares had hit a two-year high overnight and Europe’s bourses rose early on as they looked to score their fourth session of unbroken gains.
The jump in copper and other industrial metals, as well as higher oil prices following the Chinese data, meant mining firms led the charge, although all sectors shuffled higher.
"The China data was very helpful," said fund manager UBP’s macro and forex strategist, Koon Chow.
"I think it had a particular resonance after Friday’s [weaker than expected] US CPI [consumer price index] and retail sales data … so it is extending the Goldilocks environment," he said referring to a not-too-hot, not-too-cold market climate.
That lacklustre US data meant the dollar was struggling to rise above a 10-month low in early European trading having watched commodity-based — and therefore China-linked — Australian and Canadian dollars jet higher overnight.
The Aussie dollar hit its highest level in more than two years before it pulled back to $0.7813, while the Canadian dollar touched a one-year high before settling at around C$1.2659.
Britain’s sterling and the euro both eased against the dollar having jumped on Friday as officials from both sides prepared to for Brexit talks in Brussels. The euro was worth 87.52 pence.
UK Brexit Secretary David Davis, in the Belgian capital for talks with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier a month after a first meeting, said on Monday that having "made a good start" during their last encounter, "this week we’ll be getting into the real substance".
Working groups will focus on three areas: citizens’ rights; the EU demand that Britain pays about €60bn to cover ongoing EU budget commitments; and other loose ends, such as what happens to British goods in EU shops on Brexit Day.
"It seems that the British government wants to [take] major steps towards the EU in the upcoming round of negotiations.… It has, for example, admitted by now that it would meet its financial obligations towards the EU — an auspicious beginning," wrote Commerzbank analysts in a note to clients.
In commodities, oil inched higher following the Chinese data, extending gains made last week on signs of lower US inventories and stronger demand.
US crude rose 0.3% to $46.66 a barrel, while global benchmark Brent added 0.3% to $49.07.
Gold gained too, rising to $1,229.90/oz in London, although it was copper that shone brightest of the metals as it climbed 1% to $5,983.50 a tonne, having earlier struck its highest since March 2.
Shanghai Futures Exchange copper rose 1.4% to 47,810 yuan ($7,060) a tonne and another heavily used industrial metal, zinc, jumped almost 2%.
"I’m still bullish on copper. The property backdrop is still good; China economy and industrial production numbers are still good. Orders are coming through from state grid," said analyst Dan Morgan at UBS in Sydney.
In the bond markets, US 10-year treasury yields, which fell to as low as 2.279% on Friday, were steady at 2.31% as the dollar inched 0.1% higher versus the yen to ¥112.635.
Eurozone government bonds also barely budged, biding their time ahead of this week’s European Central Bank (ECB) meeting for the latest signals on how the central bank plans to scale back its ultra-loose monetary policy.
The Bank of Japan (BoJ) too is expected to keep its ultra accommodative policy unchanged when it meets on Wednesday and Thursday.
Germany’s benchmark 10-year bond yield was at 0.52% — down from 18-month highs of 0.58% hit a week ago.