Meanwhile, there were mixed economic data from Asia on Thursday.
In China, exports jumped 14.1 percent in December from the previous year, well up from 2.9 percent in November. Imports grew 6.0 percent in December after having been flat the previous month.
Credit and money supply data from China were less positive though. M2 grew 13.8 percent in December, a bit less than the 14.0 percent expected, while new local currency loans by banks came in at 454.3 billion yuan in December, less than the 550 billion yuan expected.
More worrying were data from Japan on Thursday. The index of coincident economic indicators fell 0.6 point in November, down for the eighth straight month. The index of leading economic indicators fell 0.9 point.