China Stocks Higher Despite Weak Trade Reports

China’s benchmark stock index rose to a seven-year high and the yuan weakened after a surprise drop in exports fueled speculation of more monetary stimulus. The Australian dollar led a retreat in commodity currencies and wheat fell.

The Shanghai Composite Index added 1.5 percent and Hong Kong’s gauge of Chinese companies, so-called H shares, rose 2.3 percent after data showed a 15 percent slump in the dollar value of shipments. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.1 percent by 1:07 p.m. in Tokyo, while Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures lost 0.1 percent. The Aussie dropped 1.2 percent, while the currencies of New Zealand, Canada and South Africa also fell. Wheat futures slid 1.6 percent.

Chinese imports also slumped, underscoring an economic slowdown that’s led to calls in state media for further policies to bolster growth. Hong Kong shares led gains last week that saw the value of global equities top $70 trillion for the first time as global central-bank stimulus and improving economic data reinforced the case for buying stocks.