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Asian shares off 10-year peak as Brent oil moves towards $70 eyes on China markets



Brent oil rises back above $80 as Iran sanctions loom

Asian shares hovered below their 10-year peak on Friday while investors viewed Chinese shares with caution after their big fall the previous day.

U.S. crude futures hovered near a two-year high hit in thin trade on Thursday on the shutdown of a major crude pipeline from Canada and a draw on fuel inventories.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures traded at $58.39 per barrel, near Thursday’s two-year intraday high of 58.58 dollars.

International benchmark Brent futures hit 68.42 dollars, on the day.

Experts have wondered at international media manipulation of oil prices.

Many say price manipulation and no true reports will push Brent to 100 dollars per barrel before year end.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ticked down 0.1 per cent in early trade, led by 0.3 per cent fall in Australian shares. The

MSCI index hovered still just 0.5 percent below its 10-year peak hit earlier this week.

Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.6 per cent after a market holiday on Thursday while U.S. stock futures were little changed after shortened trading on Thursday.

“Many markets have been hitting new highs so there should be some profit-taking and I wouldn’t worry too much. Still, in the very near term, we could be in a phase where patience is needed,” said Hirokazu Kabeya, chief global strategist at Daiwa Securities.

Although solid global economic growth and strong corporate earnings have underpinned shares in Asia and many other parts of the world, a tumble in mainland Chinese shares on Thursday caught some investors’ attention.

The CSI300 index fell 3.0 per cent on Thursday, its biggest decline in almost a year and a half, on concerns about rising Chinese bond yields.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar remained under pressure after the minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting showed highlighted concern among some of the board members over persistently low inflation.

“The Fed funds futures market has rolled back expectations on future rate hikes a bit after the minutes. One key focus going forward would be

Powell’s hearing in the Senate on Tuesday,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management.

The euro traded at 1.1846 dollars, near its one-month high of $1.1862 set on Nov. 15. A clear break of that level could open the way for a test of its 2 1/2-year high near $1.21 touched in September.

The dollar fell to a two-month low of 111.07 yen on Thursday and last traded at 111.33 yen.

A weaker dollar saw the British pound staying near a six-week high against the dollar ahead of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to Brussels later in the day for talk on Brexit.


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