Asian stocks mixed, oil prices shoot past $115

Asian shares were mixed Tuesday after reports showed China’s manufacturing slowdown is moderating as anti-virus curbs on businesses in Shanghai and Beijing ease.

U.S. futures edged higher after markets were closed in New York on Monday for Memorial Day. European shares advanced on Monday.

Oil prices were trading above $115 per barrel following an agreement by European Union leaders to embargo most Russian oil imports into the bloc by the end of end of the year.

The pact, part of new sanctions on Moscow, was worked out at a summit focused on helping Ukraine with a long-delayed package of new financial support. The The embargo covers Russian oil brought in by sea, allowing a temporary exemption for imports delivered by pipeline. That was crucial to bring landlocked Hungary on board a decision that required consensus.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil gained $2.77 to $117.84 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It added 98 cents to $115.07 per barrel on Monday.

Brent crude, used as the basis for pricing for international trading, advanced 76 cents to $118.38 per barrel.

China’s easing of anti-virus curbs on businesses in Shanghai and Beijing has raised hopes for stronger growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

An official survey of showed factory activity picking up in May though still below the level of 50 indicating expansion on a scale up to 100. The main manufacturing purchasing managers index, or PMI rose to 49.6 from 47.4 in April.

“The PMIs probably understate the scale of recovery this month given that the surveys mostly took place prior to when most restrictions in Shanghai were relaxed,” Sheana Yue of Capital Economics said in a report. “We suspect that the hard data due over the coming weeks will reveal a stronger recovery.”

More factories, shops and other businesses are being allowed to reopen this week in Shanghai and in the Chinese capital, Beijing, after authorities declared outbreaks under control. The Shanghai city government promised rent and tax cuts, faster approvals for construction projects and more subsidies for electric car purchases.

The Shanghai Composite index gained 0.2% to 3,154.44 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged 0.1% higher, to 21,144.72.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was 0.1% higher at 27,404.14, while the Kospi in Seoul gained 0.1% to 2,672.33.

Australia’s S&P;/ASX 200 lost 0.2% to 7,268.80. Shares also fell in Taiwan.

The future for Wall Street’s S&P; 500 index was 0.3% higher after the benchmark on Friday ended up 6.6% for the week after surging inflation declined.

The future for the Dow Jones Industrial Average future rose 0.1%.

Investors were relieved after Commerce Department data showed U.S. inflation, which has prompted the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, decelerated to 6.3% over a year earlier in April, its first decline in 17 months.

But worries remain over whether the Fed can control inflation that is running at a four-decade high without tipping the biggest global economy into recession.

Crude oil prices are up 60% this year due to fears about disruptions in supplies from Russia, the second-biggest global exporter. Wheat prices are up about 50% and corn prices are up 30%.

The dollar rose to 128.09 Japanese yen from 127.55 yen late Monday. The euro fell to $1.0747 from $1.0778.

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