January 10, 2013 / 5:28 AM / 5 years ago

Australia shares rise as banks, Rio, Fortescue gain

(Updates to close)

MELBOURNE, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose 0.3 percent on Thursday, revived by much stronger-than-expected Chinese trade data which signalled economic strength in Australia’s top customer.

China’s exports in December grew 14.1 percent from a year earlier to hit a seven-month peak, data showed, trouncing market expectations for 4 percent. Imports grew 6 percent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 15 points to 4,723, according to the latest data. It rose 0.4 percent on Wednesday to snap a three-day losing streak.

Rio Tinto Ltd rose 0.4 percent and Fortescue Metals advanced 2.3 percent after data showed China’s imports of iron ore rose 7.8 percent in December to a record 70.94 million tonnes.

New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 index gained 0.4 percent to 4,119.1. (Reporting by Miranda Maxwell; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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