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Asia: Stocks rise as crude rally buoys energy shares, yen drops
[SYDNEY] Asian stocks climbed for a sixth day, heading for the longest winning streak in six months, as rising crude prices buoyed energy producers and a weaker Japanese currency boosted shares in Tokyo.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.9 per cent to 128.81 as of 9:07 am in Tokyo. Japan's Topix index added 1.6 per cent as the yen held Tuesday's losses. Crude yesterday jumped to its highest level since November on prospects Russia and Saudi Arabia have forged a deal on freezing oil output. Industrial metal and iron ore prices also gained. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index increased one per cent.
"A positive start to Wednesday trading is anticipated after good gains in US stocks as well as oil and base metal prices last night," said Tony Farnham, a Sydney-based strategist at Patersons Securities Ltd.
The rise "in crude oil prices gave investors further reasons to go risk on." Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.7 per cent and New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 0.6 per cent.
Markets in South Korea and Thailand are closed Wednesday.
Futures on the Hang Seng Index rose 0.9 per cent, while contracts on the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland firms listed in Hong Kong added one per cent in most recent trading.
Futures on the FTSE China A50 Index climbed 0.3 per cent. Data Wednesday may show the trade surplus widened to US$34.95 billion in March compared with US$32.59 billion the previous month.
Oil prices rallied 4.5 per cent to US$42.17 a barrel in New York Tuesday after Russia's Interfax news agency reported Saudi Arabia and Russia had reached a consensus on an output freeze, citing an unidentified "informed diplomatic source" in Doha. Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said there's "hope" for a deal in Doha, regardless of whether Iran joins in.
Russian energy minister Alexander Novak spoke to Saudi petroleum minister Ali al-Naimi by phone on Tuesday to discuss prospects for an oil production freeze, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said. Saudi Arabia, the biggest Opec producer, has previously said that it would agree to a cap output only if it's joined by other suppliers including Iran, while Kuwait said a deal can be done without Tehran's support.