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Asia: Stocks extend gains with crude near US$43 as copper retreats

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[WELLINGTON] Asian shares rose a fourth day, extending gains at an almost one-year high as US crude oil traded near its highest price in two weeks. Copper declined ahead of data on Chinese prices.

Mining and consumer stocks drove gains in the regional benchmark, with Japanese equities up following a pullback in the yen. US crude traded just below US$43 a barrel after jumping 2.9 per cent Monday as Opec said the current bear market would be short-lived.

Copper fell following a rally in industrial metals, while oil's bounce buoyed the Malaysian ringgit. The Australian and New Zealand dollars also strengthened. Wheat swung back to losses.

WTI hit a two-week high after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said the group will hold informal talks next month and that members are in "constant deliberations" over stabilising a market they expect to rise in the latter part of 2016.

Commodities also got a boost from Friday's better-than-expected US jobs data, which bolstered confidence in the world's largest economy and in global demand. Odds on the Federal Reserve raising interest rates this year are just under 50 per cent, as other nations increase stimulus to boost their flagging economies.

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"The main global macro story at the moment is the ongoing resurgence in the commodity complex," Angus Nicholson, a markets analyst at IG Ltd in Melbourne, said in an e-mail to clients.

"While a deal is highly unlikely to eventuate" at the Opec talks, "the fact that it is even being mentioned shows how much difficulty the past month's renewed selloff was causing many struggling Opec members," he said.

India is projected to keep benchmark rates on hold in a policy review Tuesday, and China reports on both consumer and producer prices. Markets in Singapore are closed for a holiday.


The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.2 per cent as of 9:24am Tokyo time, with sub-indexes of raw-materials providers and industrial shares climbing at least 0.3 per cent.

Japan's Topix index rose a second day, gaining 0.2 per cent following Monday's 2 per cent jump. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index was up 0.1 per cent, while the Kospi index in Seoul increased 0.2 per cent, extending gains at its highest level since November. New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 0.2 per cent as well.

Futures on the S&P 500 index - which ended Monday down 0.1 per cent, retreating from a record - were little changed, trading at 2,176. Contracts Hong Kong's Hang Seng and Hang Seng China Enterprises indexes fell at least 0.1 per cent in most recent trading.


WTI slipped 0.4 percent to US$42.86 a barrel. It recovered some ground last session after capping a drop of more than 20 per cent from its most recent high last week, the common definition of a bear market.

Opec members are due to hold informal discussions in Algiers next month, according to the statement out Monday. The group still faces the same obstacles that prevented agreements on an output-freeze proposal in April or fixing a new production target in June, according to UBS Group AG.

Copper declined 0.2 per cent to US$4,798.50 a metric ton in London, while zinc slipped 0.1 per cent, ending a two-day advance that added about one per cent to the metal's price.


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