World Bulletin / News Desk
Asian markets enjoyed another day of gains Thursday as energy firms tracked a surge in oil prices, while fears over Syria and a possible China-US trade war eased.
Both main crude futures rallied almost three percent Wednesday on the back of data showing a drop in US stockpiles and expectations that a Russia-OPEC output cap deal will be kept in place.
Adding to the gains was talk that OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia wanted to see crude at around $80 a barrel as it prepares for a gigantic listing of part of its state oil company. Tensions in the oil-rich Middle East are also keeping prices elevated.
Brent and WTI, which are now sitting at levels not seen since the end of 2014, edged up further in Asia.
Energy firms across the region were boosted, with Hong Kong-listed PetroChina up 5.7 percent and CNOOC 4.4 percent higher. Woodside Petroleum added one percent in Sydney and Inpex put on a similar amount in Tokyo.
"That surprise draw on inventories in the US appears to have changed the game despite the fact that we did see an increase in US production. The market has looked past that," said Michael McCarthy, an analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.
"With that increasing demand and some concerns about (the) supply side, a number of traders have been blindsided by this recent move."
On equity markets, Tokyo ended 0.2 percent higher, while Hong Kong and Singapore each gained more than one percent and Shanghai added 0.8 percent. Sydney and Seoul both climbed 0.3 percent.
Taipei, Wellington and Jakarta were also higher.
In early European trade London and Paris each rose 0.2 percent but Frankfurt dipped 0.1 percent.
The positive trading environment is a far cry from the unease felt at the start of the week after US-led strikes on Syrian targets -- in response to an alleged chemical attack -- sparked worries of a confrontation with Russia, which is an ally of the Damascus regime.Last Mod: 19 Nisan 2018, 11:23