Share Markets Rise, Oil Soars to Record Highs

SHARE MARKETS – Tuesday witnessed Asian markets rise slightly right after the long Easter holiday. Oil soared to record highs this year as the United States imposed more sanctions on Iran.

Asia-Pacific shares measured by the MSCI index (excluding Japan) were higher 0.1 percent. In Japan, Nikkei 225 was little moved.

On the flipside, Chinese stocks dropped more on news that Beijing would slow the pace of further policy easing after the surprisingly strong first-quarter economic data last week. Shares in Shanghai lost 0.4 percent after policymaker vowed to recalibrate the monetary policy, guaranteeing its “neither too tight, nor too loose” policy.

Due to concerns of debt growth, analysts indicated that China would adopt a less aggressive approach on policy easing. This sent Chinese stocks to their lowest for nearly four days last Monday.

Meanwhile, on Wall Street, benchmark S&P 500 index was hovering 1 percent away from its record high reached last September. The S&P energy index increased on higher oil prices.

Oil Prices Soar on Global Supply Concerns

Oil prices crept up to near-six-month highs on looming concerns about tight global supplies following America’s announcement of further sanctions on Iranian oil imports.

Washington said that it would get rid of all waivers, which enabled a number of countries to buy Iranian oil without facing sanctions, in May.

Brent crude, an international benchmark, gained 2.9 percent to settle at $74.04 per barrel on Monday, while the US West Texas Intermediate crude rose 2.7 percent to settle at $65.70.

US crude futures were last seen trading 0.5 percent higher at $65.87 on the day.

However, the steep gains in oil prices only had little impact on the broader financial markets.

“Unless the WTI rises well above $70-75 per barrel, there will be limited impact on US Treasuries and the dollar/yen,” said a currency strategist.

In spite of the recent gains in oil prices, most investors are still anticipating inflation to be well-controlled in key economies, letting the Federal Reserve maintain a dovish stance.

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