Russian Lukoil platform is seen at Korchagins oilfeald in the Russian sector
Hong Kong - Arab Today
Asian markets extended their rally on Tuesday as hopes were raised that major oil exporters Russia and Saudi Arabia could agree action to ease a global supply glut, and authorities will step in to boost growth in major economies.
Gains on European markets also gave investors confidence to buy again as Shanghai surged more than three percent on speculation China is preparing stimulus measures to boost the world's number two economy.
Chinese stocks were also given a lift by official figures showing bank lending surged to a record high in January, as credit gushed to help boost the flagging economy.
Analysts expect further monetary loosening after six interest rate cuts in the 12 months to November and several cuts in the amount of funds banks keep in reserve.
"Looking ahead, we expect credit growth to remain strong given that the PBoC has kept monetary conditions loose," Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics, said in a research note.
Energy firms were among the big winners, tracking a second successive rally in crude prices, which came as Russian and Saudi oil ministers met Tuesday in Doha to discuss the global supply glut that has sent prices plunging.
The news is a much-needed positive for the oil market, which has been buffeted by a global supply glut, overproduction, weak demand, a slowdown in the world economy and a strong dollar.
Saudi Arabia has insisted that it will not cut production to tackle a global glut unless major producers outside the 13-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries -- including Russia -- co-operate.
"These are still very early days and nothing concrete has been agreed, but there is a growing sense that countries could be more flexible, although Riyadh would insist that everyone else contribute to the cut," Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects Ltd in London, said.
Prices last week touched a near 13-year low but sprang back more than 10 percent Friday as rumours of the talks emerged. They extended those gains Monday and on Tuesday US benchmark West Texas Intermediate rose more than five percent back above $31 a barrel, while Brent added more than six percent to rise to more than $35.
- 'Volatility very high' -
Energy firms soared. PetroChina in Hong Kong jumped 6 percent while CNOOC gained more than two percent. Sydney-listed mining giant Rio Tinto was 2.3 percent up and Woodside Petroleum 5.7 percent up.
The advance helped inject some life into regional stock markets after a booming day in Europe, where London jumped two percent, and Paris and Frankfurt soared around three percent. Wall Street was closed for a public holiday.
Shanghai led the way, finishing up 3.3 percent, while Hong Kong ended 1.1 percent up. The gains come as speculation intensifies that Beijing is preparing further stimulus after data Monday showed a slide in exports and imports.
Currency traders are also pulling back from bets on a devaluation of the yuan as China strengthens support for its currency and prospects for a US interest rate increase dim.
In Tokyo rose 0.2 percent after soaring more than seven percent Monday on talk of fresh Bank of Japan easing measures.
The growing confidence saw dealers leave safe investments such as the yen, boosting exporters, while a near 16 percent surge in mobile giant SoftBank also helped as it kicked off a multi-billion-dollar share buyback.
"Japanese markets have been swung around by outside factors, but those factors are becoming more positive," Toshihiko Matsuno, chief strategist at SMBC Friend Securities, told Bloomberg News.
"But still, volatility is very high and market sentiment is fluctuating. It is too early to say we have seen the bottom."
The dollar bought 114.39 yen in afternoon trading, slightly off 114.60 yen in London but well up from Friday's 113.25 yen.
Sydney ended 1.4 percent higher, Seoul added 1.4 percent and Singapore was up 1.86 percent late on.
In early European trade, London rose 0.4 percent, Frankfurt added 0.4 percent and Paris put on 1.0 percent.
- Key figures around 0830 GMT -
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 16,054.43 (close)
Shanghai - composite: UP 3.3 percent at 2,836.57 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 1.1 percent at 19,122.08 (close)
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.4 percent at 5,846.7
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1159 from $1.1146
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 114.39 yen from 114.60 yen
New York - Dow: UP 2.0 percent at 15,973.84 (Friday close)