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Asian shares edge up as oil rise to $ 41.60 dollars


Oil-price-UpAsian shares edged higher on Friday, oil touched a 2016 high.The U.S. dollar weakened as investors turned more positive on riskier assets after the Federal Reserve’s cautious stance on further interest rate increases.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.9 per cent,entering positive territory for the year for the first time. It’s up 2.4 per cent this week,and has surged 10.3 per cent this month.

The Hang Seng index was up 0.7 per cent, heading for a weekly rise of 3.6 per cent.China’s Shanghai Composite index and CSI 300 rose almost 2 per cent each, and were set for gains of about 6.5 per cent for the week.Chinese home prices rose at their fastest clip in almost two years in February thanks to red-hot demand in big cities.

Japanese shares, however, bucked the trend as the dollar’s fall against the yen is seen hurting the country’s exporters, with the Nikkei widening losses to 1.7 per cent.

That puts it on track for a decline of 1.7 per cent for the week.The broader gains echoed a recovery on Wall Street, where the S&P 500 Index gained 0.66 per cent overnight to close at its highest since Dec. 31, led by the materials and
energy sectors.

The rally in commodities and equities were spurred by Wednesday’s Federal Reserve review when policy makers took a more cautious stance on future interest rate increases.
“We have got an important week out of the way from a macro data perspective.
“We have heard from central banks in all corners of the globe now and the liquidity party rolls on with the potential for more to come.”

The benign rate environment, as well as optimism major producers would reach a deal to freeze output, proved a boon for oil.
OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC producers led by Russia will meet on April 17 in the Qatar capital Doha, aiming for the first global supply deal in 15 years.

After surging more than 10 per cent over the prior two sessions, U.S. oil futures advanced to 40.55, dollars the highest level since Dec. 4.

They were last trading at 40.27 dollars,on track for a 4.6 per cent increase for the week, their fifth straight week of gains and longest winning streak in about a year.

Brent crude held close to its three-month high of 41.60 dollars reached in the previous session and again on Friday. It’s headed for a 2.8 per cent gain for the week.Oil’s rally has also been aided by a weakening dollar, triggered by the Fed’s cautious approach to raising rates.

The dollar’s index against a basket of six major currencies on Friday touched a five-month low of 94.578.
The euro retreated slightly from the five-week high of $1.1342 it hit on Thursday, last fetching 1.1315 dollars.The yen was trading at 111.24, after climbing to 110.67 to the dollar on Thursday, the highest since October 2014.

Even the British pound, which has been dogged by worries about “Brexit” from the European Union, retreated only 0.2 percent to 1.4460 dollars from Thursday’s one-month high of 1.4504 dollars.

The Australian dollar shot up to 0.7681dollars, its highest since July, helped by a recovery in commodity prices. It was last trading at 0.7654 dollars.Copper advanced 1 percent to a four-month high of 5,120.5 dollars a tonne. Silver too jumped to a 4-1/2-month high of 16.111 dollars per ounce, before falling back slightly to 16.05.

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