* European bourses expected to open higher
* Trade data show China's exports, imports beat expectations
* Wall Street logs records as Trump pledges major tax
* Dollar gets lift, on track for weekly rises
* U.S. crude oil futures extend gains
TOKYO, Feb 10 Asian shares rallied to an
18-month peak on Friday, as investors cheered upbeat Chinese
trade data and strong gains on Wall Street after U.S. President
Donald Trump promised to unveil a major tax announcement to
lower the burden on businesses.
The mood was expected to carry over into European trading,
with financial spreadbetters predicting opening gains for
Britain's FTSE, Germany's DAX and France's CAC
China's January exports rose 7.9 percent from a year
earlier, while imports jumped 16.7 percent, beating expectations
and getting the economy off to a strong start in 2017 even as
Asia braces for a rise in U.S. protectionism under President
On the political front, Trump seemed to change tack and
said he would honour the longstanding "one China" policy during
a phone call with China's leader, a major diplomatic boost for
Beijing which brooks no criticism of its claim to neighbouring
China's strong trade "is related to the global pick-up in
growth in the U.S., Europe and also emerging economies," said
Jianguang Shen, chief economist at Mizuho Securities in Hong
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
was up 0.5 percent to the highest level since
July 2015, and was on track to gain 1.5 for the week. The
Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.5 percent.
Japan's Nikkei stock index surged 2.5 percent thanks
to the tailwind from a weaker currency, and added 2.4 percent
for the week.
Wall Street's three main indexes notched record highs on
Thursday after Trump said he would make a major tax announcement
in a few weeks, though he offered no details.
"Financial markets latched on to his comments yesterday
about 'something phenomenal on tax in the next two to three
weeks' like a thirsty man spying what looks like an oasis in the
desert," Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets,
said in a note.
U.S. economic data also underpinned the dollar. Initial
jobless claims unexpectedly dropped last week to a nearly
43-year low, while inventories at wholesalers surged in December
for a second straight month.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a
basket of six major currencies, added 0.1 percent on the day to
100.72, on track to gain 0.8 percent for the week.
The Australian dollar rode the trade data from China,
Australia's major export market. The Aussie rose 0.2 percent to
$0.7641, also supported by an optimistic view from the
country's central bank, which suggested that further interest
rate cuts were off the table.
The euro, under pressure from political concerns as the
campaign for France's presidential election heated up, was
steady on the day at $1.0655. It was still down 1.2
percent for the week.
Against its Japanese counterpart, the dollar gained 0.4
percent to 113.75 yen, up more than 1 percent for the
week ahead of a meeting later on Friday between Trump and
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Abe will propose a new cabinet level framework for
U.S.-Japan talks on trade, security and macroeconomic issues,
including currencies, a Japanese government official involved in
planning the summit said.
Crude oil prices extended gains, with U.S. prices bolstered
by evidence that gasoline demand could strengthen in the world's
biggest oil market.
U.S. crude added 0.3 percent to $53.13 a barrel.
Brent crude rose 0.2 percent to at $55.76.
(Additional reporting by Umesh Desai and Elias Glenn; Editing
by Eric Meijer & Shri Navaratnam)