U.K. stocks went higher on Monday, extending their reach into 2016 highs, with mining shares taking in stride downbeat economic data from China, a key consumer of precious and industrial metals.
The U.K’s FTSE 100 rose 0.4% to 6,818.85, led by basic material and financial shares. The index on Friday rose 0.8% to 6,793.47, notching a new closing high for the year. Equities continued to get a lift from an aggressive monetary stimulus package from the Bank of England. The index ended last week with a 1% gain.
Among miners, platinum and copper producer Anglo American PLC rose 2.5%, iron-ore producer BHP Billiton PLC gained 2.2%, and copper company Antofagasta PLC picked up 1.8%.
The moves came after the release of July trade data from China. Exports slid 4.4% from a year earlier, the General Administration of Customs said Monday, suggesting overseas shipments are dragging on the world’s second-largest economy. Exports were expected to decline 3.6% in a Wall Street Journal poll of analysts. Imports last month fell 12.5%, more than an estimated 8.9% decline.
“Today’s trade data disappointed, with stronger manufacturing activity among many of China’s key trading partners failing to lift export growth and import growth falling on the back of the renewed drop in global commodity prices,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics, in a note.
But looking ahead, “we are not overly concerned about the immediate prospects for China, despite today’s disappointing data,” he wrote. “While we think the worst is probably over for many markets, global growth is likely to remain lackluster well into next year.”
Other movers on Monday included Barclays PLC, with shares of the lender up 3.5%. On the downside, Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC fell 2.9%.
The pound traded at $1.3052 compared with $1.3079 late Friday in New York.