FTSE recoups losses
London's FTSE 100 and European stocks gained ground after a positive session in AsiaGetty

UK and European markets rallied on 19 January, taking their cue from their Asian counterparts, which enjoyed a positive session despite official figures showing growth in China advanced at its slowest pace in a quarter of a century.

Midway through the session, London's FTSE 100 was up 1.82%, while Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 were 2% and 2.25% higher respectively, and the Pan European Stoxx 600 index gained 1.94%.

The gains in Europe came after Asian equity markets posted strong gains, with the Shanghai Composite Index and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gaining 3.22% and 2.07% respectively, while Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed 0.55% higher.

The sharp rebound in Asia surprised many analysts, as it came on the back of largely disappointing gross domestic product figures from China, which showed the world's second-largest economy grew at its slowest pace since 1990 in the final three months of 2015.

China's economy grew by 6.8% in the fourth quarter of 2015, lower than third quarter's 6.9% growth and 2014's same-period growth of 7.3%.

"This morning's bounce in European indices has caught many off-guard given the raft of weak economic data out of China, pointing towards continued weakness within the Asian powerhouse," said IG market analyst Joshua Mahony.

"While this provides a backdrop for further stimulus out of the PBoC [People's Bank of China], the markets are growing increasingly sceptical about any such move, given the relatively ineffective actions taken by the Chinese regulators and central bankers in the past."

Having been under pressure since diplomatic sanctions over Iran were lifted over the weekend, which allowed Tehran to re-enter the global market, oil prices staged a steady rebound, with Brent crude surging 4.29% to $29.83 (£20.83, €27.45) a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate rose to 3.14%, $29.89 a barrel.

"Oil enjoyed some much-needed buying interest as strong Chinese fuel consumption help Brent to trade up above $29 a barrel again, but any upside for Brent is tempered by the knowledge that Iranian oil will be exported to Europe but not to the US leading WTI to trade at a premium," said Mic Mills, head of client services at Capital Index.

On the macroeconomic front, consumer price inflation in the UK edged slightly higher in December 2015, rising 0.1% month-on-month and 0.2% year-on-year, an 11-month high, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

Elsewhere, eurozone CPI was confirmed to have grown 0.3% year-on-year in December 2015, in line with analysts' expectations and with the preliminary reading released earlier in 2016.