GLOBAL MARKETS-Surge in Chinese exports lifts stocks, ECB awaited
* Jump in Chinese exports boosts confidence in growth outlook
* World stocks rise, European markets cautious before ECB
* Brent oil over $112 a barrel on hopes of China demand
LONDON, Jan 10 (Reuters) - World shares, commodities and growth-linked currencies rose on Thursday as stronger-than-expected Chinese exports raised hopes of a recovery in global economic activity this year.
However, gains in Europe's equity markets were more limited with investors waiting to hear what European Central Bank President Mario Draghi says about the outlook for the recession-bound euro zone after a policy meeting later in the day.
"We're not expecting him to move on policy, but what Mr Draghi might have to say could be of interest with respect to possible interest rate cuts further down the line," Michael Hewson, senior analyst at CMC Markets, said.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.1 percent to just under a 2-year high of 1,169.19 points, with London's FTSE 100, Paris's CAC-40 and Frankfurt's DAX also up about 0.1 percent.
But strong gains in Asian markets earlier had lifted the MSCI world equity index by 0.2 percent. U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street, with the S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq 100 contracts all around 0.2 percent higher.
China surprised most observers by reporting its exports had rebounded sharply in December to hit a seven-month high, with imports growing at double the expected rate. However, the data showed demand for its goods from the United States and Europe remained subdued.
A broad measure of Chinese credit growth has also risen strongly, pointing to an annual expansion for the world's second-largest economy of around 7.8 percent for 2012 when fourth quarter GDP data come out next week.
China's GDP growth touched a 3-1/2-year low of 7.4 percent between July and September last year.
The economic report from China, Australia's largest trading partner, sent the Aussie dollar to a three-week high of $1.0568 and contributed to further falls in the Japanese yen.
The yen has been weakening on expectations of massive fiscal spending and aggressive monetary easing in the coming weeks advocated by the new government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The dollar was up 0.4 percent to 88.22 yen, inching closer to its highest since July 2010 of 88.48 reached on Friday. The euro was also up 0.4 percent to 115.25 yen. Last week it hit 115.99 yen, its highest since July 2011.
Meanwhile the common currency was little changed against the dollar at $1.3070 before the ECB's policy meeting.
The growth in imports revealed in the Chinese data also stoked hopes of greater demand for commodities, lifting copper, iron ore and oil prices.
"Risk is back on after the China data," said Carsten Fritsch, senior oil analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. "General market sentiment is much more positive, with hopes of better growth pushing up most markets."
London copper was up 0.8 percent at $8,144 a tonne while U.S. crude futures rose 0.7 percent to $93.70 a barrel and Brent futures added 0.5 percent to $112.30.