Asian markets up on China's trade data and earnings season (Barcelona) - Asian equity indexes closed mostly higher on Thursday, with Japan's Nikkei Stock Average (+0.70%), Hong Kong's Hang Seng (+0.59%) and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 (+0.32%) extending yesterday’s gains, while South Korea's Kospi fully retraced Wednesday's losses and added some more (+0.75%) as earnings season resume.

Mainland China's Shanghai Composite closed little below flat despite much stronger than expected annualized trade figures, with exports soaring from 2.9% to 14.1% in December (consensus of 4.0%) and imports jumping from 0% to 6% (consensus of 3%). China trade surplus moved from 19.6B to 31.6B. “Details were positive (1) Chinese imports from Australia jumped higher still; and (2) exports to the EU surged to the highest level since September 2011, after a miserable 2012. This overshadowed news that China’s new loans were lower than expected in December (454bn vs 550bn expected)", wrote TD Securities analyst Alvin Pontoh.

Futures for the German DAX (+0.13%) and the French CAC 40 (+0.05%) are signaling a higher opening ahead of the European session and the ECB & BoE decision. WTI crude oil drops to $93.50 (+0.45%) and Gold rises to $1659.50 (+0.11%).