Thursday 06:00 BST. Energy stocks in Asia followed a positive lead from Wall Street after oil prices spiked overnight on news that Opec ministers had agreed on the need for cuts to crude output to help lift prices and rebalance the market.
Oil markets were higher after prices climbed in the wake of the Opec decision at an informal meeting in Algiers on Wednesday to reduce output by roughly 33m barrels a day.
Crude prices cooled a bit in Asia, with Brent, the international benchmark, retreating 0.5 per cent to $48.43 a barrel having after leapt 5.9 per cent on Wednesday. West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, was down 0.1 per cent at $47.02 following a jump of 5.3 per cent on Wednesday.
But the unexpected agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Opec’s largest and most influential members, helped boost equities across the Asia-Pacific region.
Leading the pack was Japan’s Nikkei 225 average, which rose 1.5 per cent as its energy sector notched a gain of 3.8 per cent. The broad Topix index was up 1.1 per cent, with energy stocks rising 4.2 per cent led by Japan Petroleum, up 9.6 per cent, and petroleum and gas machinery manufacturer Modec rising 7 per cent.
The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 0.4 per cent, paring initial gains. Chinese mainland shares were slow to respond to regional momentum but eventually perked up: the Shanghai Composite rose 0.6 per cent and the tech-focused Shenzhen Composite rose 0.7 per cent.
In fixed-income markets, the yield (which moves inversely to price) on 10-year Japanese government bonds was up 1 basis point at minus 0.082 per cent. Australian 10-year bonds yield rose 1.5 basis points to 1.961 per cent, while yields on 10-year US government bonds advanced 1 basis point in Asian trade to 1.5823 per cent.
The US dollar index, a measure of the greenback against a basket of global currencies, was marginally lower at 95.422. The Japanese yen weakened 0.7 per cent against the US dollar at ¥101.41, while the Australian currency was marginally weaker by 0.1 per cent at $0.7688 per greenback — still hovering near its highest level in six weeks.
Gold, which often moves inversely to the dollar, was up 0.2 per cent at $1,324.81 an ounce and appeared poised to recover from two consecutive days of losses.
Futures tipped European stocks to open Thursday trading 0.8 per cent higher after closing up 0.7 per cent on Wednesday, while the S&P 500 was expected to open 0.1 per cent higher after adding 0.5 per cent the previous day.
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