Most Asia stocks up but Shanghai, oil extend losses

HONG KONG: Asian stock markets mostly swung back into positive territory Wednesday while oil prices tumbled again, as the wild swings that have marked the start of the year showed no signs of abating.

After a sharp sell-off on Tuesday, equities traders were given a welcome lead from New York and Europe, where markets climbed on the back of a rally in crude.

But experts said the volatility that has stalked world trading floors this year was unlikely to end any time soon, and oil prices sank on concern of another rise in US stockpiles.

Trillions of dollars has been wiped off valuations since the start of the year, with the slump in crude prices — to 12-year lows — and China’s ongoing economic struggles driving the sell-off.

Hopes that central bankers in Europe and Japan would loosen monetary policy fuelled a two-day surge, but that was soon erased in Asia by Tuesday’s falls.

“We could see a short-term rally,” Angus Nicholson, an analyst at IG

Markets in Melbourne, told Bloomberg News.

“A lot of the markets around are trading at such low levels that they tend to draw buyers back into the market. We won’t be calling a bottom just yet. We’re probably going to see weak economic data from China in the first quarter and that’s going to add pressure on oil prices.”

Japanese shares led the advances Wednesday, with the Nikkei up 2.7 percent by the close.

The gain was helped by car giant Toyota, which announced it sold more than 10 million cars last year and kept the title of world’s biggest automaker.

Hong Kong put on 1.3 percent in the afternoon and Seoul ended 1.4 percent higher. There were also healthy gains in Singapore, Manila and Jakarta.

APP/AFP

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