* Asia shares ex-Japan at month high as Wall St climbs
* China trade beats forecasts, commodity imports jump
* Euro unfazed as Moody's turns negative on Italy rating
* Bonds rally on prospect of extended ECB buying
* Oil prices steady after slip, steel surge lifts iron ore
By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY, Dec 8 Asian shares hustled to one-month
highs on Thursday after Wall Street strode to another record,
while bonds rallied on wagers the European Central Bank would
extend its stimulus campaign at a policy meeting later in the
Risk appetite got an extra boost when China reported upbeat
trade figures with exports and imports both beating forecasts.
Resource imports were very strong, a major reason prices for
bulk commodities have been going gangbusters.
"The improvement reflects a strengthening in global demand,
with recent business surveys suggesting that developed economies
are on track to end the year on a strong note," said Capital
Economics' Julian Evans-Pritchard.
The resource-heavy Australian market jumped 1.2
percent, as did MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares
An all time-peak for Samsung Electronics helped
lift South Korea 1.2 percent. Japan's Nikkei put
on 0.9 percent, brushing off a disappointing downward revision
to economic growth for the third quarter.
The bullish mood outweighed news that Moody's had changed
its outlook on Italy to negative, warning it may downgrade the
credit rating if the country's deteriorating economic and debt
outlook was not reversed.
The euro took the move with aplomb, edging up to $1.0776
from an early trough of $1.0750. European bourses were
also tipped to open firmer by spread betters.
Markets have been surprisingly buoyant in the wake of
Italy's "No" vote last weekend on a constitutional reform
referendum, in part on hopes for continued support from the ECB
which may widen the type of bonds it buys.
Also helping sentiment were reports Italy would step in to
rescue troubled bank Monte dei Paschi, which lifted its shares
by 9 percent.
All of which put downward pressure on yields of European
peripheral debt, with buying spilling over to German bunds and
U.S. Treasuries. Yields on 30-year Treasury debt fell by 6 basis
points on Wednesday, the biggest daily decline since August.
That drop nudged the dollar down to 113.30 yen, while
the dollar index dipped 0.2 percent.
Analysts also suspect the ECB may start preparing investors
for an eventual tapering of its stimulus, which could underpin
the euro even as the Federal Reserve prepares to raise U.S.
interest rates next week.
The prospect of higher borrowing costs has certainly not
fazed Wall Street, which hit fresh records on expectations the
Trump administration will eventually deliver fiscal stimulus and
"Investments and policies that have done well in a low-rate,
low-growth world have reached their peak. Long-term winners
could be supplanted in 2017," said analysts at BofA Merrill
Lynch in their year ahead outlook.
"Expect inflation rather than deflation; Main Street to
prevail over Wall Street; fiscal winners to beat out
zero-interest winners; and real assets to triumph over financial
The Dow ended Wednesday with gains of 1.55 percent,
while the S&P 500 climbed 1.32 percent and the Nasdaq
In commodity markets, oil steadied after slipping on doubts
that production cuts promised by OPEC and Russia would be deep
enough to end a supply overhang.
Brent futures were quoted up 1 cent at $53.01, while
U.S. crude added 11 cents to stand at $49.88.
Commodities including iron ore and coking coal held recent
hefty gains as Chinese demand drove steel prices to their
highest since April 2014.
China's imports of iron ore, crude oil, coal, soybeans and
copper all surged in November, customs data showed.
(Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Kim