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Hong Kong: Asian energy firms fired up by rally in oil prices


Oil prices pressed on with fresh gains in Asian trade on Tuesday, boosting energy firms, next Russia and Saudi Arabia indicated they could extend an output cut into next year.

The world's top two crude-producing nations raised the idea at the weekend, with a transaction agreed between OPEC — of which Saudi Arabia is the key player — and Russia coming to an end in six weeks.

The news sent oil prices soaring about 2 % on Monday, in turn dragging world energy firms with them.

Monday's gains come next the commodity was battered before this month on worries that the production cut was not enough to make a dent in a worldwide supply glut and increasing output from the US and other nations.

"The comments from Saudi Arabia and Russia are driving prices up but I'm sceptical that crude will see a new level," Hong Sung Ki, a commodities analyst at Samsung Futures, told Bloomberg News.

"As producers in the US are expected to increase output, prices will continue to be restricted from rising."

But Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader, pointed out the fact that traders were overlooking the need for a further cut in oil output suggested problems persisted.

"That such a large output cut extension is a tacit admission of failure is for an extra day and discussion," he said in a note.

On Tuesday the International Energy Agency said supply and request in the oil market are close to matching up but warned rising US supply could mitigate the OPEC-led production cuts.

Hong Kong-listed PetroChina gained 0.4 % and CNOOC put on 0.3 %, while Woodside Petroleum in Sydney was up 0.2 % and Rio Tinto jumped 1.4 %.

Euro extends gains

On equity markets, Tokyo edged up 0.3 % by the close, Hong Kong slipped 0.1 % on profit-taking following a six-day rally, while Shanghai finished up 0.7 %, marking a fourth straight day of gains.

Seoul and Sydney each added 0.2 %.

But Singapore, Taipei and Wellington were all lower.

In New York the S&P 500 and Nasdaq each ended at record highs, as did London and Frankfurt, with German traders cheering a strong win for Chancellor Angela Merkel's party in a regional vote.

In early European trade on Tuesday, London opened slightly higher but Frankfurt lost 0.2 % while Paris was 0.5 % lower.

On currency markets, the euro extended gains to break above $1.10 next the German election result while the dollar's weakness has as well been caused by a series of below-par results out of the US, inclunding on inflation.

"The euro is strengthening as political concerns in Europe relieve while the dollar is being sold" next the weak economic data, Marito Ueda, a senior dealer at FX Prime, told AFP.

The greenback was as well down against most other higher-yielding currencies, with the South Korean won 0.7 % higher, the Thai baht up 0.2 % and the Malaysian ringgit 0.5 % stronger.

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