(Sharecast News) - London stocks were set to rise at the open on Thursday as investors digested Chinese data and continued to keep an eye on any developments in Sino-US trade relations.
The FTSE 100 was called to open 20 points higher at 7,218.
CMC Markets analyst David Madden said: "Overnight, The Peoples Bank of China fixed the yuan above the 7 mark against the US dollar, and stock markets in Asia had a muted reaction to the news, as traders are getting used to the idea of a weaker Chinese currency.
"A couple of hours later, China posted the latest trade figures and US dollar denominated exports jumped by 3.3%, while the consensus estimate was for a drop of 2%. Imports fell by 5.6%, while traders were anticipating a fall of 8.3%. The softer yuan is helping exports, but the drop in imports highlights the falling domestic demand."
In corporate news, Russian steel maker Evraz reported a 22% fall in core earnings on Thursday due to lower prices for vanadium, coking coal and steel products as the company warned of "volatile" markets in the second half.Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the six months to June 30 came in at $1.48bn.
Evraz said it expected its financial performance to be supported by the "high level of vertical integration, the strength of the Russian steel market and our continuing efforts in efficiency improvements".
Elsewhere, housebuilder Bellway said full-year pre-tax profit is expected to be in line with current market expectations, as it hailed "another successful year".
In an update ahead of its preliminary results in October, the company said completions rose 5.7% to 10,892, while housing revenue is expected to increase by more than 8% to almost ï¿½3.2bn.
ROME, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he would resign later on Tuesday following a decision by the ruling League party to present a no-confidence motion in the over a