MELBOURNE Jan 10 Australian shares rose 0.3
percent on Thursday, revived by much stronger-than-expected
Chinese trade data which signalled economic strength in
Australia's largest customer.
Rio Tinto Ltd rose 0.4 percent to A$67.10 and
Fortescue Metals advanced 2.3 percent A$4.85 after data
showed China's imports of iron ore rose 7.8 percent in December
to a record 70.94 million tonnes.
"The iron ore import number is very positive. Some people
are warning of a big correction in iron ore prices but we
actually think demand is going to remain quite solid going
forward because of recovering steel demand and new steel
capacity coming onstream," said Henry Liu, analyst at Mirae
Iron ore prices have jumped more than 80 percent from
three-year lows in September, to 15-month highs following a
revival in demand from top buyer China, whose monthly imports
topped 70 million tonnes for the first time in December.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 15 points to
4,723, according to the latest data. It rose 0.4 percent on
Wednesday to snap a three-day losing streak.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index gained 0.4
percent to 4,119.1, a fresh 5-year closing high.
China's exports in December grew 14.1 percent from a year
earlier to hit a seven-month peak, data showed, trouncing market
expectations for 4 percent. Imports grew 6 percent.
The Australian and New Zealand dollars also firmed on the
good portent for commodity prices and their exports.
"Regional markets are mostly firmer on the back of China's
trade balance numbers which smashed expectations," said Stan
Shamu, strategist at IG Markets.
Top banks were all higher, led by a gain of 0.5 percent to
A$25.15 in ANZ Banking Group.
Aspire Mining Ltd surged 39 percent to A$0.082 after
Noble Group agreed to provide additional support for
its coking coal project.
Australia's biggest gold miner Newcrest Mining Ltd
fell 2.1 percent to A$21.56, declining for a fifth session in a
row to hit a near six-month, with the lacklustre bullion market
exerting a bearish influence. The gold price dropped to more
than a four-month low of $1,630 an ounce last week.
An annual report from JP Morgan's specialist sales desk
obtained by Reuters said copper and gold miner PanAust Ltd
was Australia's top contender to be taken over in 2013
in another year likely to be dominated by acquisitions of
(Reporting by Miranda Maxwell; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)