Asia stocks continue global recovery

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Markets in Asia traded higher, picking up on a rebound in oil prices and a strong lead from the US and Europe.

The slight relief comes after days of heavy sell-offs earlier in the week.

Comments from European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi that more monetary easing was being considered also added to traders’ confidence.

The region’s largest market, Japan’s Nikkei, rose 3.2% to 16,524.91 points after hitting at 15-month low the previous day.

Amid takeover reports, electronics company Sharp saw its shares rise another 7%.

Media reports that the struggling company had received takeover bids from Taiwan’s Foxconn and state-backed Innovation Network had already sent the stock higher on Thursday.

Markets in China also managed to recover some of the past days’ heavy losses.

The mainland benchmark Shanghai Composite gained 0.8% to 2,901.32 points while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 2.2% to 18,950.19 points.

Commodity shares profit

In Australia, the S&P ASX 200 rose by 1.1% to 4,917.40 points.

Among the market’s standout performers were several of the big oil and commodity companies, buoyed by a rise in the oil price.

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were 6.3% and 2% up respectively while Santos climbed just under 10%.

Stocks of winemaker Treasury Wine Estates also stood out, jumping as much as 12.5% to a record high after the company provided strong full-year profits guidance in a market update.

In South Korea, the benchmark Kospi index followed the region’s trend, gaining 1.8% to 1,873.11 points.

Draghi reassures markets

In London, Paris and Frankfurt, markets closed almost 2% higher, while Wall Street finished up as oil prices had their biggest one-day gain this year.

Confidence was also boosted by Mr Draghi, promising more monetary easing to steady the euro zone if necessary.

He said euro zone rates would “stay at present or lower levels for an extended period” and there would be “no limits” to action to reflate the euro zone.

His reassurance helped to offset fears about the low oil price and worries about global growth.

Oil rebound

The oil price recovered during US trading, although it remains at around 12-year lows.

Oil prices have been falling since mid-2014, as oil-producing countries have maintained their high output levels despite the decline in revenue.

Pointing at the excess supplies on the market, the International Energy Agency earlier this week warned that oil markets could “drown in oversupply” in 2016.

Many analysts have slashed their 2016 oil price forecasts, with Morgan Stanley analysts saying that “oil in the $20s is possible.”

Economists at the Royal Bank of Scotland say that oil could fall to $16 while Standard Chartered predicts that prices could hit just $10 a barrel.

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