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AAP

February 09 2013, 03:21AM

LONDON, Feb 8 AFP - European stock markets have closed higher as investors took heart from upbeat Chinese and US economic data and EU leaders adopted a seven-year budget for the 27-member union.

London's FTSE 100 index of top companies rose 0.78 per cent to 6,276.98 points in afternoon deals on Friday. Frankfurt's DAX grew 0.78 per cent to 7,650.43 points and in Paris the CAC 40 gained 1.23 per cent to 3,645.51.

In foreign exchange trading, the euro slipped to $US1.3382 from $US1.3395 late on Thursday in New York.

Gold prices edged up to $US1,669.75 an ounce from $US1,668 Thursday on the London Bullion Market.

"Smashing China's trade numbers - considered to be the most reliable indicators of Chinese economic performance - inspired gains in the early trading session, boosting miners," Gekko Markets analyst Anita Paluch said.

As trading got under way on Wall Street, US stocks climbed higher owing to an unexpected drop in the US trade deficit and the strong Chinese trade data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.17 per cent, the S&P 500 index rose 0.24 per cent and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.43 per cent.

The US trade deficit shrank more than expected in December, to $38.5 billion instead of the $45.4 billion estimated by analysts.

Meanwhile, China's trade surplus rose sharply in January, with both exports and imports beating expectations, as the country maintained its economic recovery on improving demand.

In Brussels, European Union leaders finally clinched a deal on the bloc's 2014-2020 budget, succeeding where they had failed in November.

"Deal done!" EU President Herman Van Rompuy said on Twitter after more than 24 hours of tough talks between the bloc's 27 heads of state and government.

In China, data showed the world's second biggest economy posting a trade surplus that was 7.7 per cent higher year-on-year at $US29.2 billion ($A28.55 billion) in January, the General Administration of Customs said in a statement, beating a median $US26.6 billion forecast of economists in a Dow Jones Newswires survey.

At the same time inflation slowed to two per cent in January, the National Bureau of Statistics said, easing from a seven-month peak of 2.5 per cent in December.

Asian stock markets mostly rose after the Chinese figures were released, but Tokyo was hit by a stronger yen and data that showed Japan had suffered its lowest current account surplus in nearly 30 years.

Among the mining stocks in London, shares in Anglo American leapt by 2.58 per cent to 1,987 pence, while BHP Billiton had gained a much more modest 0.49 per cent to 2,165.50 pence.