Asian markets went higher following as the S&P 500 in Wall Street was able to close in the green zone for the sixth consecutive day. Markets in Greater China were close on account of the Lunar New Year holiday.
Japan’s Nikkei was up by 1.72 percent; the Topix index climbed by 1.89 percent. South Korea’s Kospi’s index advanced by 0.91 percent. Australia’s ASX 200 recovered from early losses and went higher by 0.66 percent as the heavily weighted financial sub-index recorded price rises of 0.56 percent. Although its energy sector tumbled by 0.91 percent, the Materials sector managed to rise by 0.21 percent.
For decades, Saudi Arabia has been the voice of moderation within OPEC, pushing against the demands raised by Venezuela and Iran for higher oil prices.
Thanks to the OPEC-led production cuts, oil stockpiles are almost back to normal. However, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih – who was once satisfied with oil prices at $60 per barrel –now wants to push the black gold even further seeing $70 as the level where crude prices should be traded. As a result, OPEC may embark on an initiative to cut oil productions for the entire year.
In the meantime, the rally in Asian markets helped crude prices climb higher. WTI added 1.2 percent to its value and closed at $62.42; Brent crude went higher by 0.7 percent towards $65.30 per barrel.