Overseas Trading: Chinese Trade Data Sparks Volatility

China's exports logged a second straight monthly decline

by Karee Venema

Published on Sep 8, 2015 at 8:29 AM

It was a mixed finish in Asia today, as traders reacted to a second consecutive monthly drop in China's exports. Specifically, exports declined 5.5% in August, while imports dropped 13.8%. Given last month's reaction to soft trade data, the report helped stoke speculation Beijing could announce a fresh round of stimulus measures. Speculation over additional easing, along with news of a roughly $11 billion railway project, sent China's Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong's Hang Seng soaring 2.9% and 3.3%, respectively.

Meanwhile, an upwardly revised second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) reading for Japan didn't exactly stoke optimism, as the economy still contracted by 1.2% during the three-month period. As the yen strengthened, the Nikkei tumbled 2.4% -- and into the red on a year-to-date basis. South Korea's Kospi, meanwhile, shed 0.2%.

European benchmarks are comfortably in the green at midday after Germany's trade balance jumped to a record surplus in July, thanks to strong exports. An upward revision to the eurozone's second-quarter GDP is also boosting sentiment. Elsewhere, it appears the European Union is on the cusp of approving General Electric Company's (NYSE:GE) multi-billion-dollar bid for Alstom's energy unit. At last check, the German DAX is up 2.1%, the French CAC 40 is enjoying a 1.8% lead, and London's FTSE 100 is 1.5% higher.

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