Asian equity markets generally finished marginally higher yesterday, with the Hang Seng Index up 0.15%, the Shenzhen composite rising 0.54%, Singapore’s STI climbing 0.37% and Korea’s KOSPI ending 0.44% higher.
The Nikkei was down 0.11% as the yen traded at 17-month highs. In Singapore, oil and gas names such as Ezra, Keppel Corp and SembMar were the top performers as crude oil enjoyed a relief rally from its one-month lows.
Better-than-expected German industrial production data (-0.5% vs. -1.8% forecast) helped to improve the overall market sentiment in the eurozone. The Euro Stoxx Index ended 0.66% higher. In the US the S&P 500 finished 1.05% higher at 2,066.66 as WTI crude gained 5% overnight. Improved sentiment is likely to spread to Asian markets today, as most Asian market futures opened higher early this morning.
Crude oil climbed for a third consecutive day on both lower inventories and hope that oil producers may reach an agreement to freeze output even without Iran.
Kuwait - an OPEC member that accounts for around 3.5% of the world’s oil supply or 1/3 the size of Saudi Arabia’s daily production - suggested that low oil prices are hurting everyone, and that a freeze is needed to set a floor for oil prices. Energy stocks were lifted by this news.
With uncertainty remaining ahead of the talks on 17 April, oil price movements may remain choppy before any firm deal is made. US DOE weekly crude oil inventory decreased by 4.9 million barrels from the previous week. Gold retraced to 1,225 as risk sentiment improved on the rising crude oil price.
The Dollar Index dropped to 94.39, its lowest level since October 2014, indicating that USD is weakening against its major peers, including EUR, JPY and GBP. USD/JPY dipped further to 109.49, breaking below the key support level of 110.00. The next support level is at 108.30.
EUR/USD broke out above 1.1400, a key resistance level, to 1.1411 this morning, due to stronger-than-expected German industrial production data released yesterday.
Key Technical levels to watch:
- Immediate resistance level: 112.00.
- Immediate support levels: 110.00, followed by 108.30.
- RSI at 29.30%, entering into the overbought zone (0-30%).
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