Asian shares open mixed, oil prices rally – CNBC

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Asian stocks open mixed on Monday, as oil prices rallied on supply outages in Canada and amid surprise over the exit of Saudi Arabia’s veteran oil minister Ali al-Naimi.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index was 0.14 percent higher, buoyed by the energy and materials subindexes, which were up 2.33 percent and 1.2 percent respectively.

Beijing released trade data on Sunday that showed exports contracted 1.8 percent and imports plunged 10.9 percent. Investors will likely watch Australia’s market react to this new data, because China is one of Australia’s top trade partners.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 opened 0.99 percent higher. The dollar/yen pair was trading up 0.33 percent at 107.43 at 8:18 a.m. HK/SIN. A weaker yen is generally better for Japanese manufacturing, because it makes their products cheaper for overseas buyers

Across the Korean Strait, South Korea’s Kospi index was down 0.1 percent on its first day of trade after being shuttered on Thursday and Friday for public holidays.

Oil prices surged more than 2 percent at the start of Asia’s Monday session, as wildfires in Canada shut half of the country’s vast oil sands capacity over the weekend, Reuters reported.

Also, Saudi Arabia replaced its long-time oil minister Ali al-Naimi withKhalid al-Falih, the chairman of Saudi Aramco, which analysts said signaled a new era for crude markets and appeared to be a reaffirmation of Saudi policy to let oil set its own pricing.

At 6:40 a.m. HK/SIN time, U.S. crude futures were up 2.75 percent to $45.88 a barrel, after its open at $45, while Brent rose 2.23 percent to $46.38, after opening at $45.75.

Australian oil producers were all in the green, with Santos up 3.41 percent, Oil Search 2.07 percent higher and Origin Energy gaining 3.74 percent.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of currencies, was near-flat in early Asian trade at 93.975.

Stateside on Friday, the Nasdaq composite closed up 0.4 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.45 percent, while the S&P 500 ended higher 0.32 percent.

While all three major indexes ended higher, the Dow and the S&P posted slight weekly declines, posting their first two-week losing streak since February 12.

On Monday the Philippines headed to the polls to elect a new president.

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