China blue chips end at 18-month peak buoyed by solid exports

SHANGHAI, July 13 (Reuters) – Chinese stocks firmed on
Thursday, with the blue-chip index closing at an 18-month high,
underpinned by solid trade data and Federal Reserve Chair Janet
Yellen’s signal to adopt a patient approach in the current U.S.
rate-tightening phase.

The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.8 percent, to
3,686.92 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index
gained 0.6 percent to 3,218.16 points.

China’s better-than-expected trade performance for June
lifted market sentiment. Exports rose 11.3 percent last month
from a year earlier, while imports expanded 17.2 percent,
suggesting the economy is holding up well thanks to firmer
global demand.

“Today’s upbeat figures point to still strong foreign demand
for Chinese goods, as well as fairly resilient domestic demand,”
said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China Economist at Capital

“Looking ahead, exports should continue to do well given the
relatively positive outlook for China’s main trading partners.”

Risk appetite also improved after Wall Street hit record
peaks as investors wagered policy tightening in the United
States would be glacial at best.

Chinese investors continued to plow money into blue chips,
helping lift sectors such as banking, raw materials
and infrastructure.

“Mainland investors are increasingly ditching speculative
trading, and putting money in those companies that generate
predictable incomes,” said Wu Wei, analyst at Zheshang
Securities Co.

By contrast, small-caps languished further, with eight such
firms slumping the 10 percent trading limit.
(Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch; Editing by
Jacqueline Wong)