SYDNEY - Australian shares rose for the first time in nine sessions on Wednesday, snapping the longest losing streak in 5-1/2 years, supported by better-than-expected Chinese trade figures.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 1.26 per cent, or 62.2 points higher, at 4,987.4.
The benchmark closed down 0.14 per cent on Tuesday, the eighth consecutive daily fall, having touched a 2-1/2-year low of 4,880.1 earlier in the week. The S&P/ASX 200 index last had eight consecutive losing sessions in mid-2010.
China's exports in December fell 1.4 per cent from a year earlier, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Wednesday, much less than a Reuters poll forecast for an 8 per cent drop and moderating from November's 6.8 per cent decline.
Australian financials were the strongest performing asset class, with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Westpac Banking Corp, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank all ending higher.
Australia's energy sector also rose, despite continued weakness in the oil market.
Santos Ltd gained more than 5 per cent, having earlier hit a 20-year low, while Origin Energy Ltd rose 3.2 per cent after earlier hitting a 12-year low.