Oil rally lifts energy firms, dollar eases on risk confidence

GMT 12:15 2015 Wednesday ,07 October

Arab Today, arab today Oil rally lifts energy firms, dollar eases on risk confidence

Oil prices
London - AFP

Oil prices on Wednesday extended a rally on hopes a global supply glut could be easing, boosting Asian energy shares, while a broadly upbeat outlook helped emerging currencies to further gains against the dollar.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics dragged South Korean shares higher after flagging a massive increase in operating profit for July-September.

Global markets have rallied since the release Friday of underwhelming US jobs data that lowered expectations the Federal Reserve will tighten monetary policy before the end of the year.

On Tuesday US benchmark West Texas Intermediate jumped 4.9 percent while Brent North Sea crude soared 5.4 percent after the US Department of Energy forecast a drop in average production in 2016 and an increase in global demand this year.

"There's a bit of optimism creeping into the market," Jonathan Barratt, the chief investment officer at Ayers Alliance Securities in Sydney, told Bloomberg News.

"Prices have found a base, $45 has been a very solid level and it will be very hard to break back down below that."

On Wednesday morning WTI was up 1.00 percent in Asia and Brent added 0.75 percent.

Among regional energy players, Hong Kong-listed shares of China's CNOOC (HKSE: 0883.HK - news) surged more than six percent and PetroChina (HKSE: 0857-OL.HK - news) rallied 5.2 percent. In Sydney, Santos (Dusseldorf: STS1.DU - news) soared 8.3 percent while Origin was up more than seven percent.

Regional stock markets were also broadly higher, with Hong Kong up 0.71 percent, Sydney 0.17 percent higher and Singapore up 0.29 percent. Seoul was 0.44 percent higher.

- Samsung surge -

However, Tokyo eased 0.17 percent by lunch ahead of the conclusion of a Bank of Japan policy meeting, with investors looking to see what it plans to do with monetary policy in light of tepid economic growth.

Traders are now keeping an eye on the DoE's weekly report on US commercial crude inventories, a closely watched indicator of demand in the world's top oil consuming nation, later in the day.

Oil prices have edged up in recent weeks thanks to a slightly weaker dollar, hopes for a pick-up in global stock markets after the past two months' volatility and expectations for Iranian crude to soon start hitting markets.

But ongoing worries about the state of China, the world's number two economy and biggest energy user, continue to dog investors.

In Seoul, Samsung piled on almost six percent after it said it expected to see an 80 percent jump in third-quarter operating profit.

Analysts put the blockbuster figure down to a weaker Korean won and improved sales of televisions and chips as it moves away from it reliance on smartphones owing to stiff competition from Apple (LSE: 0R2V.L - news) and Chinese rivals.

"With sluggish sales of Galaxy S6... the (semiconductor and TV) businesses were a major factor behind the surprise earnings," said Lee Seung-Woo, analyst at IBK Securities.

A generally confident outlook and waning expectations the US will hike rates soon helped higher-yielding, or riskier, currencies advance against the dollar again Wednesday.

The Australian dollar was up 0.10 percent, the Indonesian rupiah surged 1.7 percent and the Thai baht was 0.12 percent higher.

Malaysia's ringgit added 0.78 percent and the Taiwan dollar was 0.43 percent higher.

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