- German trade surplus narrows
- UK industrial report out
- ECB urged to introduce QE
- European finance ministers resume talks
FTSE 100: 0.05%
CAC 40: 0.06%
FTSE MIB: 0.14%
IBEX 35: 0.01%
Stoxx 600: 0.21%
European stocks gained as official data today showed German exports and imports surged in January at the fastest pace in nearly two years.
Seasonally adjusted exports jumped 2.2%, well above the 1.5% forecast, the Federal Statistics Office revealed. Overseas shipments had fallen 1% in December.
Imports advanced 4.1% in January, compared to a drop of 1.4% the previous month and the consensus estimate of a 1.4% increase.
As a result, the seasonally-adjusted trade surplus narrowed to €17.2bn from a revised €18.3bn in December.
"Foreign demand is going well, this is a positive sign for economic growth in the first quarter," Reuters reported, citing Ralph Solveen, Economist at Commerzbank.
"The economy should grow by about 0.75%, not least because the construction sector will have benefited from a mild winter."
In the UK, a report at 9:30 GMT in London may show industrial production rose 3% in January from a year earlier, according economists' expectations. It would mark the largest year-on-year expansion since January 2011. Another report is projected to show manufacturing output climbed 3.3% year-on-year in January.
At 15:00 GMT, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) will release its gross domestic product (GDP) estimate for the UK in February.
DIW head urges ECB to inject QE
The European Central Bank (ECB) must act quickly and decisively to counter the threat of deflation "along the lines of the Federal Reserve," the head of Germany's Institute for Economic Research (DIW), Marcel Fratzcher, wrote in Die Welt.
Fratzcher has called for €60bn of bond purchases each month to halt the contraction of credit and avert a Japanese-style rut of deflation.
His remarks came after the ECB decided to hold fire on policy action last week despite the M3 money supply falling below zero over the last eight months and inflation dropping to 0.8%, well below the monetary authority's 2% target.
In other Eurozone news, European Union finance ministers will resume talks today as they try to break a deadlock on a law for failing banks in the euro-area.
Policymakers working on a compromise deal on the Single Resolution Mechanism and a common fund to cover the cost of saving or closing banks. ECB President Mario Draghi last week said there would be severe consequences for the euro-area and its banking union should they fail to reach a deal before May's parliament elections.
Geberit, Close Brothers
Geberit rallied after the maker of bathroom fittings and plumbing products said Christian Buhl will take over as Chief Executive from Albert Baehny at the beginning of 2015.
Close Brothers edged higher after the UK financial services company increased its interim payout to 16.5p, beating analysts' estimates.
African Barrick Gold slumped following reports that the company has started selling a 10% stake in its African unit.
The euro fell 0.13% to $1.3859.
Brent crude futures rose $0.277 to $108.380 per barrel, according to the ICE.