Asian share markets firmed on Monday as investors dared to hope for both progress at Sino-U.S. trade talks in Washington this week and more policy stimulus from major central banks
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.3 percent, partially recovering from a sharp fall last Friday.
Japan’s Nikkei climbed 1.6 percent to hit its highest for the year so far, while Australia’s main index rose 0.7 percent. E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 were flat, with trade thinned by a holiday in U.S. markets.
The European Central Bank’s Olli Rehn told a German newspaper on Sunday that recent data point to a weakening euro zone economy and interest rates would remain at the current level until monetary policy goals have been met.
Euro was last at $1.1290 and still within the $1.1213/1.1570 trading range that has held since mid-October. The dollar was steady on the yen at 110.50, having backed away from a two-month top of 111.12.
Sterling was a shade firmer at $1.2901 ahead of Brexit talks between British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker this week.
All of which left the dollar at 96.924 on a basket of currencies, after hitting its highest since mid-December at 97.368 last week.
Oil prices were at their highest for the year so far this year after an outage at Saudi Arabia’s offshore oilfield boosted expectations for tightening supply.
U.S. crude was last up 30 cents at $55.89 a barrel, while Brent crude futures rose to $66.61.