Stock markets in Europe and Asia rise and oil prices jump after Chinese trade data cools concerns over the world's second biggest economy. As David Pollard reports, China's total trade fell in December but far less than expected.
Relief at last - China's trade data was much better than expected. Its exports for 2015 - in dollar terms - dropped 1.4 percent, imports were down 4 percent. One swallow doesn't make a summer of course and China's annual growth figures - due next week - are still expected to be the weakest in 25 years But even so… Richard Hunter is from Hargreaves Lansdown. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HARGREAVES LANSDOWN, HEAD OF EQUITIES, RICHARD HUNTER, SAYING: "It is something of a change in heart in terms of sentiment in the Asian region compared to what we have become used to since probably going back to August of last year." Markets responded - Asia and then Europe both saw rises - Japan by almost 3 percent. Shanghai shares still fell between one and two percent But battered oil and copper prices took some comfort from the prospect of a slower slowdown. U.S. crude jumped almost a dollar after falling below $30 on Tuesday for the first time in 12 years. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HARGREAVES LANSDOWN, HEAD OF EQUITIES, RICHARD HUNTER, SAYING: "At the moment oil has few friends and it is difficult to see the oil price recovering again strongly any time soon." It all means markets must look elsewhere for something to cheer about. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HARGREAVES LANSDOWN, HEAD OF EQUITIES, RICHARD HUNTER, SAYING: "We are currently getting into the fourth quarter reporting season proper both in the U.S. and the UK. And depending on how companies report those particular figures could have quite an impact in how the market fares in the next month or two." Oil is a factor here too of course. Producers may be struggling - but many other firms - like consumers - are likely to be benefitting from the low prices