Asian shares all-time high, while oil prices climbed to the highest since January 2020

Asian shares advanced to record highs on February 15. Likewise, oil rose to more than one-year peak with successful rollouts of Covid-19 vaccine globally raising hopes of a rapid economic recovery amid new financial aid from Washington, Reuters reported.

According to the news agency, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan jumped 0.4 percent to 736.4. Similarly, Japan’s Nikkei climbed 1.3 percent, despite data showing the country’s recovery from its worst postwar recession slowed in the fourth quarter. Australia’s benchmark index was up 1 percent, added Reuters.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 were up 0.2 percent in early Asian trading.

According to Reuters, the highlight of the week will probably be minutes of the US Federal Reserve’s January meeting, where policymakers decided to leave rates unchanged.

Data on inflation is due from the UK, Canada, and Japan while Friday will see major economies including the United States release the preliminary February purchasing managers’ indices (PMI).

While economists expect inflation to stay benign for some while yet, the so-called “reflation trade” has gathered steam in recent days largely led by coronavirus vaccines and hopes of massive fiscal spending under US President Joe Biden, Reuters added.

Biden pushed for the first major legislative achievement of his term, turning to a bipartisan group of local officials for help on his USD 1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan.

Oil prices climbed to the highest since January 2020 on hopes US stimulus will boost the economy and fuel demand, Reuters reported.

Brent crude was up 66 cents, or 1.1 percent, at USD 63.09 a barrel at 0004 GMT, after climbing to a session high of USD 63.44, the highest since January 22, 2020.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 86 cents, or 1.5 percent, to USD 60.33 a barrel. It touched the highest since January 8, 2020, of USD  60.77 earlier session.

Oil prices rose to their highest in more than a year on February 15 after a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said it intercepted an explosive-laden drone fired by the Iran-aligned Houthi group, raising fears of fresh Middle East tensions.

Hopes for more US stimulus and an easing of coronavirus lockdowns helped support the rally after prices gained around 5 percent last week.

Oil prices have rallied over recent weeks, also as supplies tighten, due largely to production cuts from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allied producers in the group OPEC+.