Asian Stock Markets Get Australian Cut and Oil Price Boost

Most Asian markets have risen after a rebound in US crude oil prices led to a rally in US stocks on Wall Street.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, and WTI, the US standard, both rose more than 3% despite a nationwide strike at several US refineries.

Sentiment was also lifted after the Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates for the first time in 18 months to counter an economic slowdown.

It reduced borrowing costs by 25 basis points to a record low of 2.25%.

Australia’s stock market rose on the news, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 closing 1.5% higher at 5,707.37 points.

The Australian dollar fell by 1.2%, its most in more than five years, against the US dollar.

Earlier in the day, Australia also posted its smallest trade deficit in nine months in December.

The trade shortfall of A$436m (£226m) was significantly lower than economists’ estimates of a A$850m trade gap due to an increase in exports amid low commodity prices.

In China, the Shanghai Composite share index rallied 2.4% to close at 3,204.91 – ending a five-day losing streak.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index finished up 0.3% at 24,554.78.

However, Japan’s Nikkei closed 1.3% lower at 17,335.85 and South Korea’s Kospi index closed flat at 1,951.96.

via BBC

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza