A currency trader watches monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

…Summer pick up in crude will keep prices high, says Driscoll

By Bartholomew Madukwe with Agency report

Oil prices rose on Thursday as John Driscoll of JTD Energy Services says a seasonal summer pick up in crude and refined oil product demand will keep prices high. However, Asian shares stepped up to a fresh 11-week high. Japan’s Nikkei average N225 rose 0.9 percent.

Notable gainers included technology-heavy Taiwanese stocks, with Taiwan’s main index TWII nearing the 27-year high of 11,270 hit on January 23.

MIAPJ0000PUS advanced 0.5 percent to extend its gains, hitting a 2-1/2-month high for a second straight day, reports Reuters.

Market participants remain keen to monitor developments ahead of the G7 summit later this week and the U.S.-North Korea summit scheduled for next week.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 last traded at $75.84 a barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 at 65.04, rising 0.6 percent and 0.5 percent.

Copper CMCU3 hit a five-month high of $7,278.50 per tonne, though the gains were driven more by supply concerns in Chile than by stronger demand.

India’s broader NSE index .NSEI rose to a three-week high, with private-sector lenders leading gains, a day after the central bank raised its policy rate for the first time in more than four years.
Spreadbetters expected the firmer tone in equities to carry over into Europe, forecasting a higher open for Britain’s FTSE .FTSE, Germany’s DAX .DAX and France’s CAC .FCHI.

“Quite clearly, it was the euro’s day,” said Marshall Gittler, chief strategist at ACLS Global. “Aside from the euro, the main theme in the market was back to risk-on.”

The euro EUR= held near a two-week high while the yield on Germany’s benchmark 10-year bond DE10YT=TWEB hit its own two-week high of 0.486 percent on growing conviction the European Central Bank would announce as early as next week its intention to end a drawn-out stimulus program by year-end.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield US10YT=RR hit a fresh 1-1/2-week peak of 2.985 percent.
ECB Chief Economist Peter Praet said on Wednesday that robust growth made the central bank increasingly confident that inflation is on its way back to target, raising the chances it may use next week’s meeting next week to reveal more about the end of its bond-buying program.

Praet’s comments sent the euro to $1.1796 EUR=, its highest level since May 22, on Wednesday. The common currency last traded up 0.1 percent at $1.1789. The dollar index .DXY was down 0.1 percent to 93.525.

Worries over the effects of reduced ECB bond buying triggered a broad sell-off in German Bunds and other European government debt, which spilled over to Treasuries, analysts said.
Higher yields helped to lift S&P 500 financials .SPSY, which rose 1.8 percent and were the biggest percentage gainer among S&P 500 sectors.

“The U.S. 10 year Treasury yield rose alongside its eurozone peers overnight, while U.S. stocks rallied, reflecting a risk-on attitude among investors,” said Makoto Noji, senior FX/bond strategist at SMBC Nikko Securities.

White House economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said late on Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump would meet French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the G7 summit this week.

Although Kudlow said Trump would not back down from the tough line he has taken on trade, the comments appeared to calm investors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 1.4 percent to 25,146.39, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 0.86 percent to 2,772.35 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 0.67 percent to hit its record closing high of 7,689.24.