|09 January, 2018

Asian shares edged up on Tuesday

Markets in line with positive start for most global markets

Asian shares added to their gains on Tuesday, in line with a positive start for most global markets since the beginning of 2018.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.2 percent at 590.89, not far from its record peak of 591.50 scaled in November 2007.

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia's index edged down 0.1 percent on Monday, after gaining 0.6 percent on Sunday in response to King Salman's 50 billion riyal ($13.3 billion) of measures to help citizens cope with the rising cost of living.

The Dubai index gained 0.6 percent as amusement park operator DXB Entertainments rose 1.6 percent and builder Arabtec climbed 1.9 percent.

Abu Dhabi's index added 0.6 percent.

Egypt's blue-chip index gained 1.2 percent after the market reopened following a public holiday.

In commodities, U.S. oil prices hit their highest since 2015 again on Tuesday as speculators bet on further price rises amid OPEC-led production cuts and a dip in American drilling activity.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $62.24 a barrel at 0252 GMT - 51 cents, or 0.8 percent, above their last settlement. They earlier marked a May-2015 high of $62.56 a barrel.

Brent crude futures were at $68.22 a barrel, 44 cents, or 0.65 percent, above their last close. Brent touched $68.27 last week, its highest since May, 2015.

In currency markets, the yen stole the show on Tuesday and jumped after the Bank of Japan’s slight reduction to its bond purchases reminded investors that it will eventually normalize policy.

Against the yen, the dollar erased its early modest gains and fell 0.4 percent to 112.63 following a drop as low as 112.50.

Gold prices inched down on Tuesday amid expectations for more U.S. interest rate hikes this year.

Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,319 an ounce by 0314 GMT, after falling as far as $1,315.40 early in the session.

In other news, Tunisia’s annual inflation rate rose to 6.4 percent in December, it's highest rate since July 2014, from 6.3 percent in November, official data showed on Monday.

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© ZAWYA 2018

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