Chinese trade data and dovish Yellen boost Asian markets

Guy Bentley
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Asian markets have been boosted by a recovery in Chinese exports and imports as well as Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen's commitment that the Fed will continue to support the US economy.

Chinese export growth rose from -6.6 per cent year-on-year in March to 0.9 per cent in April, outperforming Bloomberg's median estimate of minus three per cent.

China's continued weakness in the export sector is still largely attributable to over-invoicing of trade to avoid capital capital flows last year, according to London-based consultancy Capital Economics.

Exports to Hong Kong and Taiwan fell by 30 per cent in year-on-year last month. However, exports to the rest of the world climbed 10.2 per cent year-on-year, suggesting external demand remains buoyant. The trade surplus jumped from $7.7bn in March to $18.5bn in April.

Capital Economics forecast that healthy external demand will continue buttress exports. Import growth, however, will remain relatively fragile due to a slowdown in property activity.

In her testimony to Congress yesterday, Yellen reiterated there was still considerable slack in the US labour market, suggesting the Fed will maintain its relatively dovish stance for some time.

Investors also took heart from a mild easing of tensions in Ukraine, as Russian President Vladimir Putin said pro-Russian separatists should hold off on a vote for secession.