Asian shares at 1-mth highs, copper stays near 4-yr peak

By Swati Pandey

SYDNEY, Dec 28 (Reuters) – Asian shares rose to a one-month high on Thursday and were on track for their best annual performance since 2009, while commodity-driven currencies were buoyed by a strong copper, which held near a four-year peak.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.5 percent at 565.92 points, a level last visited in late November. It has rocketed more than 32 percent in 2017.

Every single market in Asia was in the black on Thursday, a rare occurrence. South Korea’s KOSPI and China’s CSI 300 index were both up 0.7 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.6 percent. Japan’s Nikkei climbed 0.2 percent.

MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, also held near record highs. It has surged 21.5 percent this year.

Trade was light across the board with many market participants on holiday.

Elsewhere, currencies of commodity exporting countries got a boost from strength in metals overnight.

Copper eased after nine straight sessions of gains but stayed near its highest level since early 2014.

Prices of the metal, considered a barometer for global growth and used widely in power and construction, are up 30 percent in 2017.

Gold prices climbed to a one-month top while oil was not far from this week’s 2-1/2 year peak.

All that pushed the commodity-driven currencies of Australia , New Zealand and Canada to multi-week highs.

The greenback slipped against the yen while the dollar index sagged to more than three-week lows as U.S. Treasury yields came off recent highs.

Treasury 2/10s yield curve slipped below 52 basis points, from almost 64 basis points last week.

“The dollar bears are getting their last licks in for 2017, perhaps foreshadowing of things to come in 2018,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against other major currencies, is seen ending about 9 percent lower in 2017 as the reflation trade seen at the start of the year faded.

For the year, the dollar is down more than 3 percent on the yen.

In commodities, spot gold rose 0.2 percent to $1,289.5 an ounce, a level last seen in late November.

Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil prices, rose 16 cents to $66.60 a barrel. U.S. crude added 11 cents to $59.75 after climbing to a 2-1/2 year high of $60.01 on Tuesday.

(Editing by Sam Holmes and Richard Borsuk)

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