London shares surged to a 16-month high yesterday, buoyed by a strong rally in metals and commodities prices driven by strong export and import figures from China.
The FTSE 100 gained 55.47 points to 5,589.2 in early trade driven largely by mining and oil stocks.
The price of US crude soared above US $83 a barrel to a 15-month high as data from China yesterday showed its crude oil imports surging by nearly 25 per cent to more than 20 million tonnes in December, a record high.
China also said that exports had climbed by 17.7 per cent from a year earlier, the first increase in 14 months, and that imports had surged by 55.9 per cent.
Within this, unwrought copper imports jumped by more than a quarter in December, reaching 369,368 tonnes after the previous month’s 290,158 tonnes. China, the world’s biggest importer of metals, is regarded as the key to driving a global economic recovery.
Copper for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange rose by as much as 2.9 per cent to US $7,675 a tonne.
All this helped Cairn Energy, the producer of oil in India, to add 15.1p, or 4 per cent, to 377p, while three copper miners were not far behind on the leaderboard. Xstrata rose 46.5p to GBP12.93, Rio Tinto climbed 131.5p to GBP 37.70 and Kazakhmys gained 48p to £15.46.
BP rose 16.6p to 638.3p and BG Group added 30p to GBP 12.24.