Oil prices stabilise after Iran deal, Asian shares steady

Published: 26th November 2013 11:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th November 2013 11:00 AM   |  A+A-

Oil prices stabilised on Tuesday after Monday's slide as traders questioned how quickly the Iranian nuclear accord could translate into higher supplies, while the yen came off a four-year trough against the euro.

Asian shares headed for a third straight session of gains, though Tokyo's Nikkei benchmark retreated from a six-month high as the yen recovered some of Monday's steep losses.

The Thai baht slipped 0.3 percent to a 11-week low of 32.080 per dollar on heightened political uncertainty as anti-government protesters forced their way inside the country's Finance Ministry and burst through the gates of the Foreign Ministry compound, in a bid to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

On Monday, the Thai SET index fell for a fifth straight session to an 11-week closing low.

U.S. crude prices added 0.3 percent to $94.37 a barrel, recouping some of the previous session's 0.8 percent decline following a weekend deal between the West and Tehran to halt Iran's most sensitive nuclear activities in exchange for some relief from sanctions.

Brent crude prices softened a touch after ending almost flat on Monday from a slide of as much as 2.7 percent.

"The interim six-month 'freeze' agreement just reached on Iran's nuclear programme should not have any impact on oil prices, aside from short-term sentiment, because core sanctions on oil and banking have not been touched," Societe Generale said in a note.

"We see a greater than 50 percent chance that a comprehensive agreement will be successfully reached within six months.

"If and when that happens, it could take Iran three to nine months to recover the one million barrels per day in production lost since 2011."

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan advanced 0.3 percent, building on a 0.3 percent rise in the previous session, though it faced resistance at its 50-day moving average.

Nikkei off pace

Tokyo's Nikkei share average shed 0.7 percent after it climbed 1.5 percent on Monday to within sight of a 5-1/2 year peak reached in May.

The Japanese currency, which typically falls when share prices rise, was up 0.2 percent at 101.50 yen to the dollar and steady at 137.385 to the euro.

Minutes of the Bank of Japan's Oct. 31 meeting showed some board members said they saw economic growth and prices at risk of declining, underscoring lingering pessimism within the board on the outlook for meeting its inflation target.

The euro inched up 0.1 percent to $1.35355, having fallen 0.3 percent overnight.

"We remain bullish on the dollar heading into 2014 but remain tactically cautious on establishing longs, with a number of U.S. dollar pairs already trading at the high end of their ranges and data unlikely to be consistent enough to support expectations for an early tapering," analysts at BNP Paribas wrote in a note.

Data showed on Monday that contracts to buy previously-owned U.S. homes fell for a fifth straight month in October, hitting a 10-month low and adding to signs of cooling in the housing market.

U.S. stocks ended mixed overnight, with the Dow Jones industrial average posting a slim gain to end at another record high, while the S&P 500 eased 0.1 percent.


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