Asian stocks rise on oil rally, weaker yen

Pedestrians look at an electronic board showing the Japan's Nikkei average outside a brokerage in Tokyo.
Pedestrians look at an electronic board showing the Japan's Nikkei average outside a brokerage in Tokyo. PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (BLOOMBERG) - Asian stocks climbed for a sixth day on Wednesday (April 13), 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.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.7 percent and New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 0.6 per cent. Markets in South Korea and Thailand are closed on 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 1 per cent in most recent trading. Futures on the FTSE China A50 Index climbed 0.3 per cent.

Crude has 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 1 per cent.

Oil prices rallied 4.5 per cent to US$42.17 a barrel in New York on 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.