Bullish expectations over Chinese GDP send FTSE over the 5,900 level

BRITAIN’S top shares hit their highest level in more than a month yesterday, propelled by strength in risk-sensitive commodity stocks ahead of economic growth data from top consumer China.

Gains by miners and energy stocks accounted for nearly all the FTSE 100 index’s gains – adding 21 points and 16 points respectively – on expectations that today’s third-quarter GDP data from China will provide a boost to demand for commodities.

The FTSE 100 closed up 40.37 points, or 0.7 per cent, at 5,910.91, having jumped 1.1 per cent on Tuesday, ending back above the 5,900 level for the first time since 14 September.

China’s economic situation in the third quarter was relatively good, Premier Wen Jiabao was quoted by local media as saying yesterday, and the government is confident of achieving its 2012 growth target of 7.5 per cent.

Yet third-quarter GDP, forecast at 7.4 per cent, would still undercut the slowest growth rate in three years, seen in the second quarter of this year.

Among miners, BHP Billiton added 3.3 per cent as the firm joined rival Rio Tinto in pressing on with plans to boost iron ore output. But BP was the stand-out performer, alone providing almost a quarter of the blue chip advance. BP added 2.9 per cent as investors awaited news on the future of the group’s Russian joint venture, TNK-BP.