BRICs on a roll

Emerging-market stocks advanced to a three-week high after better-than-estimated Chinese trade data bolstered confidence in global economic growth. PetroChina Co. and OAO Gazprom drove a rally in commodity producers.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index added 0.8 percent to 952.25 at 12:29 p.m. in New York. PetroChina, the nation’s biggest oil producer, climbed 2.1 percent in Hong Kong, while Gazprom increased to the highest level since November in Moscow. The won drove gains among the 24 developing-nation currencies tracked by Bloomberg, while Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. surged in Seoul as the two Koreas held their first high-level talks since 2007.

Equities rallied after China’s export and import growth unexpectedly accelerated in January, defying signs the world’s second-largest economy will slow while fueling speculation that fake shipments are resurfacing. A measure of energy shares in the emerging-market gauge climbed 1.1 percent as West Texas Intermediate crude advanced to the highest level in four months.

“China is the main driver for economic activity, so seeing better data is helping global markets,” Jeff Papp, a senior analyst at Oberweis Asset Management Inc., which manages $1.1 billion in assets, said in a telephone interview from Lisle, Illinois. “Some of the worries there have dissipated a bit.”

The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index exchange-traded fund fell 0.1 percent to $39.10. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Emerging Markets ETF Volatility Index, a measure of options prices on the fund and expectations of price swings, increased 2.3 percent to 25.70.

Brazil, Russia

Brazil’s Ibovespa retreated from a three-week high as traders increased bets on higher borrowing costs in Brazil, pushing consumer stocks lower. Consumer-health products manufacturer Hypermarcas SA and brewer Ambev SA led losses by companies that sell in the local market.

Russian stocks rose to the highest in two weeks as commodity producers in the world’s biggest energy exporter advanced on bets Chinese growth will support demand. Crude producers OAO Tatneft and OAO Surgutneftegas rose more than 1.4 percent. Gazprom advanced for a sixth day.

The Budapest Stock Exchange Index slid to a five-month low as OTP Bank Nyrt slumped 2.1 percent. Hungarian courts can change the exchange-rate margin on $15 billion in foreign- currency loans if lenders are deemed to have calculated installments in an unfairway, an adviser to the European Union’s top court said today. The forint rose versus the euro.

Money Market

Chinese stocks rose, sending a gauge of Hong Kong-listed companies to their biggest two-day gain in three months. PetroChina rallied after its parent company discovered a natural gas reserve big enough to supply China’s needs for almost two years. The nation’s benchmark money-market rate fell for a second day on speculation cash is returning to the banking system after the week-long Lunar New Year holiday.

South Korea’s won advanced to a three-week high, gaining for a fourth day. The meeting precedes the planned Feb. 20-25 reunions of families separated by the Korean War, which would be the first in more than three years. The countries, which remain technically at war after the 1950-53 conflict ended without a peace treaty, agreed on Jan. 24 to revive the reunions after the North canceled them in September.

India’s benchmark stock index rose the most in three weeks as ICICI Bank Ltd. climbed 3.1 percent, leading a measure of lenders to a two-week high. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. rose 1.5 percent, sending the S&P BSE India Capital Goods Index to its biggest rally in three weeks. Oil & Natural Gas Corp., the nation’s biggest explorer, increased to a one-month high.

Thailand’s baht rose the most in four weeks after imports in China topped estimates and the Constitutional Court rejected a bid by the opposition Democrat Party to annul the election. A measure of expected swings in the ringgit fell to an 11-month low on speculation Malaysia’s widening current-account surplus will buoy the currency as the U.S. pares stimulus.

The premium investors demand to own emerging-market debt over U.S. Treasuries fell five basis points, or 0.05 percentage point, to 333 basis points, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

 

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