Asia morning update: Bullish on oil

US markets notched new highs overnight, driven by the uptick in oil prices.

Source: Bloomberg

While the move had largely been priced in on Monday for Asian markets, regional bourses look set to take the lead from overnight markets.

Despite Washington being caught up with matters related to a disclosure report on President Donald Trump, US markets largely gained from the softer dollar and the boost in crude oil prices. This had triggered a new wave of buying interests which once again saw the likes of the S&P 500 and NASDAQ printing fresh all-time highs. A breakdown of the S&P 500 index by sectors finds the materials, financials and energy sectors leading gains on the index after being weighed just last week.

The talk of the town had been news of Russia and Saudi Arabia being keen to support a nine-month extension to the output cut for crude oil. For the market, this has been a substantially new development with only a six-month renewal previously expected. The 25th May formal OPEC meeting next week is however, expected to be the pivot point for prices as sceptics remain within the market.

That said, the rhetoric arriving from OPEC and co. had certainly been on the cooperative end, which is a significant departure from the narratives heard prior to their meeting in late November. WTI futures was last seen trading on either side of $49 per barrel and eyeing the $50/bbl level. Short term trading places focus on the upcoming API report before the official DOE report that had given crude prices a boost just last week.

Meanwhile the US dollar had remained battered in the face weak data. Soft empire manufacturing index for the month of May was seen overnight as the dollar index firmly fell to trade at sub-99.0 levels. This weakness however bodes well for US commodity producers and Asian markets alike. Interests in Asian markets could very likely remain with the sluggish USD in play. The exception of USD/JPY, underpinned by bond yield movements, meanwhile interestingly played to the advantage of the Nikkei 225 as we see the Japanese bourse up 0.6% as of 8:45am Singapore time.

USD index

Expect the strong momentum to continue for Asian markets in a light data day for Asia. Besides the RBA minutes due very soon at 9:30am Singapore time, Japan's March tertiary industry index will be expected midday Singapore time. The key focus is expected to be on the inflation data due from European economies and the April's industrial production and housing starts from the US.

Yesterday: S&P 500 +0.48%; DJIA +0.41%; DAX +0.29%; FTSE +0.26%

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