Oil price rise boosts Australian stocks – BBC News

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Oil price rise boosts Australian stocks

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Australian markets were off to a positive start on Friday, driven by gains in the energy sector.

The resource-heavy S&P ASX/200 index was up by 0.68% – or 36.10 points – to 5,315.

Shares in major energy firms – Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton – chalked up gains in Friday’s session.

Oil prices rose to a seven-month high, after a weekly US petroleum report showed a decline in the country’s stockpile.

Energy prices rebounded, even though a meeting of the Opec oil producers’ group failed to set a cap on the amount of oil the group produces. Opec members generate 40% of the world’s crude oil exports.

But Saudi Arabia has pledged not to flood the energy market by increasing production. The country’s energy minister, Khalid Al-Falih, said: “We will be very gentle in our approach and make sure we don’t shock the market in anyway.”

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was up by 0.2% at 16,589.97.

Shares of carmaker Suzuki fell by nearly 1% after Japan’s transport ministry reportedly raided the company’s headquarters. According to local media, the company admitted to using improper fuel-testing methods, which would have affected millions of cars. The admission had taken place several weeks ago.

China’s Shanghai Composite was flat at 2,924.53, while in Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng was up 0.3% at 20,923.98.

South Korea’s Kospi index opened flat at 1,985.81.

US stocks rose overnight, in anticipation of positive data due on Friday from the world’s largest economy.

Investors will be looking out for monthly US jobs data, due later on Friday, for further clues on whether the Federal Reserve will increase rates at its June meeting.