Asian markets rise after China lifts travel quarantine

Covid-19 test queues at a hospital in Shanghai.

Asian markets rose on Tuesday after China announced it would end the quarantine on arrivals, raising hopes of reviving the world’s second-largest economy and boosting oil, which continued its bullish trend on fears of Russian production cuts.

China had abruptly lifted its strict pandemic restrictions even as a wave of infections swept the country.

The curbs had torpedoed the economy and sparked nationwide protests. The latest easing will see the three-year border controls end on January 8, when Beijing downgrades Covid-19 to a Class B infectious disease and ends mandatory quarantine for overseas arrivals.

The news has prompted people in China to seek overseas flights and is expected to be a major boon for business trips to the world’s second largest economy.

Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai and Singapore were all higher, while Hong Kong and Sydney markets were still closed for the Christmas break.

After a holiday for commodities traders on Monday, oil prices continued to climb after a top official said Russia could cut up to 7 percent of its production next year.

Production was also hampered by freezing conditions in the United States, where more than 1.8 million barrels per day of oil processing capacity in Texas was affected by extreme weather, Bloomberg News reported.

Both Brent Crude and West Texas Intermediate jumped nearly a percent on supply constraints and expectations of renewed demand from China.

Markets were buoyed last week by a slew of new data showing a slowdown in US inflation and a pick-up in consumer spending, allowing Wall Street to take profits over the holiday break.

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