LONDON (AFP) - Global equities surged on Monday after China said it would relax constraints on the yuan, in a surprise move seen by analysts as an attempt to defuse tensions before a crucial G20 summit this weekend. The move by China over the weekend to make the yuan more flexible is a move towards market normalisation and this is being welcomed by investors, said City Index analyst Joshua Raymond. The move was a bit of a surprise, and so naturally we have see a bit of a knee jerk reaction in the US dollar, which has fallen against a basket of currencies, whilst equities have traded largely positively with a higher demand for risky asset classes. China said over the weekend that it would allow the yuan more flexibility in adjusting to market forces. This was widely seen as a move to head off a dispute with the United States over exchange rates at the looming Group of 20 gathering in Toronto on June 26-27. In early afternoon trading, Frankfurt shares leapt 1.45 percent, London jumped 1.06 percent and Paris gained 1.61 percent. The European single currency rose in value, edging above 1.24 dollars and also breaching 113 yen, as the Chinese move encouraged investors to buy the risk-sensitive euro. The yuan, meanwhile, climbed on Monday to the highest level against the dollar for five years. Crude oil prices also rose strongly, nearing 80 dollars per barrel on expectations of higher demand from Chinese consumers. And gold prices rose to a new record, hitting 1,265.30 dollars an ounce in London as investors also flocked to the safe-haven metal amid eurozone debt crisis concerns. Investor sentiment has improved quite dramatically over the weekend, with the news that China has pledged to allow its yuan to appreciate, helping to drive all major markets higher, said analyst Joel Kruger at trading website DailyFX. Global equity, commodity and currency prices have all jumped out to a good start in the early week, and it will be interesting to see just how long this development is able to keep a more broadly cautious market afloat. In Asian stock market trading, Tokyo rallied 2.43 percent and Hong Kong leapt 3.08 percent. Shanghai jumped 2.90 percent, Sydney won 1.33 percent and Singapore picked up 1.62 percent in value. Chinas central bank said at the weekend that it would strengthen the flexibility of the yuan exchange rate, boosting hopes that Beijing was ready to adjust a two-year-old dollar peg and allow the currency to rise. However, the Peoples Bank of China also insisted there would be no large swings in the currency and ruled out a one-off revaluation. Beijings move comes as it faces mounting pressure to strengthen the yuan ahead of the G20. The currency, effectively pegged at about 6.8 to the dollar since 2008, has been allowed to move within a 0.5-percent range on either side of the peg. The central bank said on Saturday it would maintain the existing trading band. The Chinese currency pierced the 6.8 barrier on Monday to hit 6.7969 to the dollar. That was its strongest level since July 2005. Asian equity markets were stronger across the board ... as the Chinese authorities signal preparedness to allow resumed appreciation of the yuan, said analyst Bernard McAlinden at NCB stockbrokers in Dublin. This is a positive move that de-fuses protectionist tensions between the United States and China, while allowing the re-balancing process in global trade and credit flows to continue.