* Asian shares ex-Japan off 0.2 pct after steady Wall St
* China expected to report moderate drop in exports and
* ECB meets amid talk it may extend asset buying deadline
* Oil extends bounce on news of large inventory draw
By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY, Sept 8 Asian shares hovered near
one-year peaks on Thursday as investors awaited Chinese trade
data and a policy meeting by the European Central Bank, where it
may announce an extension of its asset buying campaign.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
dipped 0.2 percent, but that followed four days
of gains which took it to the highest since late July 2015.
South Korea's market added 0.4 percent, having also
touched a one-year top this week.
Japan's Nikkei lost 0.1 percent, easing away from a
three-month top in the face of a strengthening yen.
China's trade report should offer some guidance on the state
of global demand. So far, Asia's trade recession shows no sign
of abating and economists polled by Reuters expect China's
exports fell 4 percent in August, a similar rate to July.
Imports may have fallen 4.9 percent, which would be a
significant improvement from July's 12.5 percent fall, likely
due to higher commodity prices.
Beijing would welcome any sign of improvement on the trade
front as the economy has become increasingly unbalanced, with
growth ever more reliant on government spending as private
There was little in the way of a lead from Wall Street. The
Dow ended Wednesday down 0.06 percent, while the S&P 500
lost 0.02 percent and the Nasdaq added 0.15
percent to eke out a record high finish.
Apple shares rose 0.6 percent, after the biggest
company by market value unveiled its new iPhone.
The main event later on Thursday will be the ECB's regular
Nearly all analysts polled by Reuters expect rates to remain
unchanged on Thursday, though there was more uncertainty on
whether the ECB would announce an extension of its 80 billion
euro of monthly asset buys.
If it were to make that call, it would likely reinforce
speculation of more easing before year end and could pressure
The single currency was parked at $1.1243 on
Thursday, just off the week's top of $1.1269.
It jumped earlier in the week when a disappointing reading
on the U.S. services sector seemed to diminish the chance of a
rate hike from the Federal Reserve and slugged the dollar across
Neither was there much urgency to tighten in the Fed's
latest Beige Book report on the economy, which was littered with
the words "modest" and "moderate".
In particular, there was little sign of the wage pressures
that the Fed is counting on to push inflation higher.
Futures markets <0#FF:> imply only around a 15 percent
chance of a rate rise in September, rising to 42 percent for
The dollar was also steady against a basket of currencies at
94.930, having touched a one-week low at 94.690.
The yen remained firm at 101.81 per dollar due in
part to talk the Bank of Japan's board was struggling to agree
on a common front for more easing at its policy review later
In commodity markets, U.S. crude extended an overnight
bounce after U.S. inventory data showed what might be the
largest weekly stock draw in over three decades.
U.S. crude was 82 cents higher at $46.32 a barrel,
while Brent futures rose 72 cents to $48.70.
(Editing by Kim Coghill)