China's 2017 export outlook brightened after the government reported better than expected trade growth for March and as U.S. President Trump suddenly declared China is not a currency manipulator. China's exports rose at the fastest pace in more than two years in March, up 16.4% Y/Y, while import growth remained strong at 20.2%; the country's crude oil imports hit a record high of nearly 9.2M bbl/day. Analysts said the stronger trade data reinforces the growing view that economic activity in China has remained resilient and that global manufacturing is improving.
The yuan climbed to its biggest one-day advance vs. the dollar in nearly three months after President Trump abandoned his earlier pledge to name China a currency manipulator and said the dollar was too strong. China equities are higher, also enjoying a boost from news of stronger than expected growth in exports. But Japan’s Nikkei average lost as much as 1.3% to its lowest level since December, as the yen hit five-month highs against the dollar. European bourses also are lower in the early going as the euro strengthens vs. the dollar.