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| 10 January, 2018

Oil prices hit three-year highs early on Wednesday

Rise seen on the back of ongoing production cuts led by OPEC

Oil prices hit early on Wednesday more than a three-year highs due to ongoing production cuts led by OPEC and a fall in inventories.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $63.40 a barrel at 0100 GMT - 44 cents, or 0.7 percent, above their last settlement.

They marked a December-2014 high of $63.53 a barrel in early trading.

Brent crude futures were at $69.15 a barrel, 33 cents, or 0.5 percent, above their last close. Brent touched $69.29 in late Tuesday trading, its strongest since an intra-day spike in May 2015 and, before that, in December 2014.

In stocks, Asian shares stepped back on Wednesday from their 2007 peak on profit-taking.

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MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.3 percent after six straight days of gains until Tuesday.

In the Middle East, Gulf stock markets were mostly moving slowly on Tuesday, but Egypt's bourse rose after authorities announced a date for presidential elections.

In Saudi Arabia, the index fell 0.3 percent as petrochemical giant Saudi Basic Industries dropped 0.5 percent. But PetroRabigh gained a further 3.9 percent.

Dubai's index rose 0.4 percent as Air Arabia climbed 3.2 percent to its highest level since early February 2017, in its heaviest trade since mid-October. Dubai Islamic Bank rose 1.7 percent to its highest since August 2015.

In Egypt, the index gained 1.4 percent to a record high in its heaviest trade since November after the presidential elections were scheduled for March 26-28.

In currency markets, the dollar edged up in early Asian trade on Wednesday, bolstered by higher U.S. Treasury yields but still constrained against the yen after the Bank of Japan’s move to trim its purchases of Japanese government bonds triggered tapering fears.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rival currencies, inched up slightly to 92.536, not far from its overnight high of 92.640.

In other news, Egypt's strategic reserves of wheat are sufficient to last until mid-May following a purchase tender held by state buyer GASC on Tuesday, the ministry of supply said.

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