Stocks rise nearly 1 pct on China data, Ukraine rates jump

Written by Reuters | London | Updated: Dec 9 2013, 23:19pm hrs
StocksAsian shares rallied after data showed Chinese exports rose an above-forecast 12.7 percent from a year earlier.
Emerging stocks rose nearly 1 percent on Monday on strong Chinese data, while Ukraine's short-term interest rates jumped as political unrest put pressure on the country's assets.

Asian shares rallied after data showed Chinese exports rose an above-forecast 12.7 percent from a year earlier, according to figures on the world's second biggest economy released on Sunday, and the trade surplus widened.

"The resilience of the Chinese economy is likely to boost emerging market exports, especially considering currencies have largely depreciated this year, which effectively restored a good part of EM economies' competitiveness," said analysts at Societe Generale in a client note.

The MSCI emerging equities index rose 0.8 percent to six-day highs, though Chinese shares were steady.

Indian stocks rose 1.5 percent to a record high after the main opposition party BJP, widely seen as being more business friendly, scored big wins on Sunday in three out of four key state elections held since last month.

China's yuan hit a record high after the central bank relaxed its grip on the currency following the data.

The yuan has appreciated 2.6 percent so far this year, compared with a 1 percent rise in 2012.

Emerging market assets remained generally buoyant despite strong U.S. employment data on Friday, which brought forward some expectations of a withdrawal of the U.S. monetary stimulus that has helped risky assets.

In Ukraine, short-term interest rates soared to their highest for a year on intensifying political pressure.

One-week rates rose as high as 18 percent, according to Reuters data, up from 7 percent on Friday, and 3.5 percent a week ago.

Ukrainian foreign exchange reserves fell sharply in November, data showed on Friday, as the central bank sold dollars to support the hryvnia.

The currency hit six-week highs in the spot market on Monday, however, with one local dealer saying there was a shortage in the market.

Ishitaa Sharma, emerging markets strategist at Citi, said intervention had also helped support the currency in recent days, "The central bank has been intervening but it is becoming more aggressive now."

Ukraine's forward rates were under pressure, but remained below recent elevated levels. Debt insurance costs also remained at distressed levels near 1,100 basis points (bps) for five-year credit default swaps, according to Market.

Emerging European currencies were flat to slightly weaker, with the rand edging away from 4-1/2 year lows set last week. Emerging sovereign debt spreads edged out 2 bps to 353 bps over U.S. Treasuries.