ASX to nudge higher after oil prices lift

Traders on the Australian share market are expected to follow a rally on Wall Street overnight after world oil prices rose.

The SPI 200 futures contract was higher by 49 points, or 0.94 per cent, at 5,286.0 at 0800 AEST on Thursday.

IG Markets analyst Kyle Rodda tipped a positive start for the S&P/ASX200, based on a strong lead from overseas markets.

The world economy remains ravaged by travel restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, although there was a sign of hope for oil traders overnight.

US crude and benchmark Brent prices climbed after a collapse in the past two days, sending the S&P 500 energy index up 3.6 per cent.

Brent crude, the international standard, climbed 5.4 per cent to US$20.37 a barrel.

The Australian government is among those keen to seize on low oil prices, saying it will spend $94 million to stockpile fuel in the US.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 finished trade 2.0 per cent or more higher.

In Australian data on Thursday, the Bureau of Statistics will publish its estimate of the March trade balance.

Experts have tipped exports and imports to be lower due to coronavirus travel restrictions and trade disruptions, although exports will be helped by iron ore shipments.

The S&P/ASX200 index on Wednesday recovered from a poor start to finish only 0.1 of a point lower at the close of trade, at 5,221.2 points.

The Australian dollar was buying 63.22 US cents at 0800 AEST on Thursday, down from 63.31 US cents at Wednesday’s close.

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