Asian shares rise amid signs of global economic recovery

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan reached its highest since 18 March.

Asian stocks rose to six-week highs after signs that world economic recovery was still on track, despite a surge in Covid-19 cases in some parts of the region.

In Europe, futures for the Eurostoxx 50 were flat as were those for Germany's DAX while London's FTSE futures were slightly weaker. E-mini futures for the S&P 500 didn’t change much.

In Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan reached its highest since 18 March, despite a late sell-off in Chinese shares. The index is on track for a third straight year of positive returns. Since April 2020, the index has offered positive returns in all but three months.

China's blue-chip CSI 300 index fell 0.7% after hitting its highest level since 6 April earlier in the day. Australia's benchmark share index was off 0.2% with a public holiday in five of the country's eight states and territories.

Meanwhile, South Korea's KOSPI share index rose 0.7% while New Zealand shares added 0.6%. Japan's Nikkei was up 0.4%.

Rate hike warning

In currencies, Turkey's lira fell slightly adding to a recent slide and nearing an all-time low after the new central bank chief signalled that rate hikes would harm the economy. 

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The US dollar's index slipped to 90.679 against several major currencies, a level not seen since 3 March. The dollar was a shade weaker on the safe-haven Japanese yen at 107.80. The euro rose 0.1% to $1.2105. 

In commodities, oil prices fell almost $1 amid a massive surge of Covid-19 cases in India, the world's third-biggest oil importer, while an expected supply increase from OPEC+ also added to pressure.

Brent crude was 89 cents, or 1.4%, lower at $65.22 a barrel by 0846 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 87 cents, or 1.4%, at $61.27 a barrel.

Gold climbed 0.1% to $1,779.19 an ounce.

Read more: UK inflation saw an increase in March as country emerges from lockdown

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