Asian markets rise on oil rebound and Australia rate cut

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Hong Kong Hang Seng Index

Last Updated at 23 Mar 2018, 07:27 GMT *Chart shows local time Hang Seng intraday chart
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Most Asian markets have risen after a rebound in US crude oil prices led to a rally in US stocks on Wall Street.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, and WTI, the US standard, both rose more than 3% despite a nationwide strike at several US refineries.

Sentiment was also lifted after the Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates for the first time in 18 months to counter an economic slowdown.

It reduced borrowing costs by 25 basis points to a record low of 2.25%.

Australia's stock market rose on the news, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 closing 1.5% higher at 5,707.37 points.

The Australian dollar fell by 1.2%, its most in more than five years, against the US dollar.

Earlier in the day, Australia also posted its smallest trade deficit in nine months in December.

The trade shortfall of A$436m (£226m) was significantly lower than economists' estimates of a A$850m trade gap due to an increase in exports amid low commodity prices.

In China, the Shanghai Composite share index rallied 2.4% to close at 3,204.91 - ending a five-day losing streak.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index finished up 0.3% at 24,554.78.

However, Japan's Nikkei closed 1.3% lower at 17,335.85 and South Korea's Kospi index closed flat at 1,951.96.

One of the biggest stock movers on Tuesday was Hong Kong-based financial group Sun Hung Kai.

Sun Hung Kai shares fell nearly 6% before being suspended from trade after China's Everbright Securities agreed to buy a stake in one of its financial units for $529m.

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