Asia shares set for early gains as focus swings to recoveryAsia shares set for early gains as focus swings to recovery
Pedestrian wearing a face mask rides an escalator near an overpass with an electronic board showing stock information in Shanghai

By Chris Prentice

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Asian shares were poised to open higher on Thursday after global equities and crude prices rallied overnight on hopes of a rapid economic recovery and government support.

Hong Kong futures <HSIc1> edged higher. Nikkei futures <NKc1> were trading above the Nikkei 225 index’s <.N225> previous close. Australian shares were also set to rise.

Global equities have received a boost this week as governments around the world gradually loosened their coronavirus lockdown restrictions, raising investor hopes the economic impact of the pandemic would be short-lived.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> broke out of a three-week trading range overnight, and oil prices <LCOc1> rallied as U.S. data showed declining inventories and firming demand.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 1.52%, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 1.67%, and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 2.08%.

“A solid night for risk, with equities working, crude and copper pushing higher and again that should spill over into Asia trade,” Chris Weston, head of research at Melbourne-based brokerage Pepperstone, said in a note.

Copper prices hit a two-month high ahead of a Chinese government meeting this week that is expected to boost demand with pledges of higher spending on infrastructure.

Minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s April meeting released on Wednesday showed policymakers affirmed a pledge to keep interest rates near zero until they are confident the economy is on track to recovery.

The euro <EUR=> opened higher as the U.S. dollar sank against major currencies. The common currency was buoyed by a proposal for a common fund that could move Europe closer to a fiscal union as it tries to counter the hit from the coronavirus pandemic

Gold prices <XAU=> were slightly lower, under pressure from increased risk appetite, which lifted equities. Earlier, bullion was boosted by doubts about the development of a coronavirus vaccine and a wave of government stimulus.

The World Health Organization expressed concern on Wednesday about the rising number of new coronavirus cases in poor countries, even as many rich nations have begun emerging from lockdown.

Graphic: Asian stock markets

(Reporting by Chris Prentice in Washington; Editing by Sam Holmes)