|12 September, 2019

Thursday outlook: Asian shares hover near six-week high

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.4 percent and Japan's Nikkei stock index rose 0.88 percent.

An investor observes stock market at an exchange hall on March 29, 2016 in Fuyang, Anhui Province of China.

An investor observes stock market at an exchange hall on March 29, 2016 in Fuyang, Anhui Province of China.

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  • Asian shares rise sharply
  • Oil prices track equities higher
  • Middle East markets close mixed
  • Dollar steadies, gold drops

Global markets

Asian shares rose to a six-week high on Thursday on hopes for an easing in trade tensions between the United States and China and expectations that the European Central Bank would kick off another wave of monetary easing by global central banks.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was up 0.4 percent and Japan's Nikkei stock index .N225 rose 0.88 percent.

Chinese stocks rose and the yuan hit a three-week high after U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to delay an additional increase in tariffs on Chinese goods by two weeks at the request of China’s Vice Premier Liu He “as a gesture of good will.”

“Trump’s comments are likely to put a little juice in the market, but it could be gone tomorrow,” Hugh Dive, chief investment officer at Atlas Funds Management in Sydney, told Reuters.

“Some in the market react to small changes in negotiating positions because Trump is negotiating in the open. I’m more concerned about Brexit, because there is some complacency in the EU about this.”

Oil prices

Oil prices also rose on Thursday buoyed by moves to ease trade tensions between Washington and Beijing and a drop in U.S. crude inventories to the lowest in nearly a year.

Brent crude futures rose 41 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $61.22 by 0051 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures gained 40 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $56.16.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday that U.S. crude oil stockpiles fell last week to the lowest in nearly a year, as refineries raised output and imports fell.

Crude inventories fell for a fourth straight week, decreasing 6.9 million barrels in the week to Sept. 6 - more than double analysts’ expectations of a 2.7 million-barrel drawdown.

Middle East markets

The Saudi index closed 1.4 percent down with 163 of its stocks falling and 19 rising. Lenders National Commercial Bank and Al Rajhi Bank shed 2.7 percent and 1.2 percent respectively, while petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries lost 2.2 percent.

Dubai’s index was down 0.3 percent as Emaar Properties fell 0.8 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, the index was up 0.2 percent lifted by a 0.4 percent gain in market heavy-weight First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Qatar’s index gained 0.9 percent with the Gulf's biggest lender Qatar National Bank advancing 1 percent.

Egypt’s blue-chip index EGX30 gained 0.4 percent while Kuwait’s premier market index lost 2.5 percent, Oman’s index gained 0.4 percent and Bahrain’s index fell 0.5 percent.

Currencies

The dollar was mainly unchanged on Wednesday.

The dollar index .DXY, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, steadied at 98.332.

Precious metals

Gold prices fell on Thursday.

Spot gold fell 0.4 percent to $1,491.86 per ounce at 0117 GMT.

U.S. gold futures were down 0.3 percent at $1,499.5 an ounce.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)

(gerard.aoun@refinitiv.com)

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