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Asia markets, oil struggle ahead of key OPEC meeting

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HONG KONG - Asian markets struggled Wednesday as oil prices staged a mild recovery from the previous day's sharp sell-off as investors grew uneasy over the chances of a deal to cut output just hours before a crunch OPEC meeting.

Some of the biggest producers in the world head into the Vienna conference later in the day still unable to hammer out details of a September agreement to address a glut that has battered crude markets for two years.


Uncertainty over the deal -- with Iran and Iraq calling to be excluded and Russia looking only to freeze, rather than cut -- has fuelled volatility on oil trading floors in the past week and on Tuesday both main oil contracts plunged four percent.

And while Brent and West Texas Intermediate recovered slightly in early Asian trade, investors are still moving cautiously.

"All eyes will be on Vienna today with Iran and Iraq both digging their respective heels in on production caps," Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA, said.

"Failure to come up with a viable solution will see oil much lower tomorrow. The convoluted nature of the negotiations means compliance going forward will be an issue as well, one suspects."

Worries about oil have also weighed on global equities, which have enjoyed a broadly strong few weeks since Donald Trump's shock US election win owing to hopes his policies will ramp up economic growth.

US markets provided a healthy lead, with all three main indexes rising Tuesday after data showed stronger-than-expected third-quarter US growth, higher housing prices in September and a sharp rebound in consumer confidence in November.

- Dollar hiatus -

But Asian investors were a little more subdued and by the break Tokyo was 0.1 percent higher, while Hong Kong came off earlier highs to sit up 0.2 percent. Shanghai dipped 0.7 percent, Sydney was 0.3 percent lower, and Seoul added 0.3 percent while Singapore put on 0.8 percent.

Analysts said a surge in the dollar -- on the back of expectations of sharper rises in US interest rates -- could be fading, with emerging market currencies breathing a sigh relief.

Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at CFD and FX provider AxiTrader, said in a note: ?The US dollar's stellar rally against Asian and other emerging market currencies look to be on hiatus as the (Chinese) yuan and (South Korean) won lead the reversal push."

The greenback was down against high-yielding units in the region, with the won up 0.2 percent, the yuan 0.3 percent higher -- though still at around eight-year lows -- and the Indian rupee 0.2 percent higher having hit a record low last week.

Investors are also awaiting a referendum Sunday in Italy on constitutional reform. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has suggested he will step down if voters reject the proposal.

There are fears his resignation could spark elections in which populist anti-euro parties could do well, and possibly even lead to the country leaving the EU.

- Key figures around 0230 GMT -

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 18,329.91 (break)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.2 percent at 22,791.22

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.7 percent at 3,260.70

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0646 from $1.0650 Tuesday

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 112.30 yen from 112.36 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2488 from $1.2490

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 29 cents at $45.52 a barrel

Oil - Brent North Sea: UP 17 cents at $46.55

New York - Dow: UP 0.1 percent at 19,121.60 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.4 percent at 6,772.00 (close)

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Muslim Global: Asia markets, oil struggle ahead of key OPEC meeting
Asia markets, oil struggle ahead of key OPEC meeting
Asia markets, oil struggle ahead of key OPEC meeting
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