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    MORNING BELL: Ahead of RBA's big decision

    Asian stocks gained on Tuesday, as hopes for an agreement on Greece's debt situation lifted risk appetite, while a sharp rebound in oil prices boosted commodity currencies such as the Canadian dollar and Norwegian crown. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan, MIAPJ0000PUS rose 0.2 percent. Japan's Nikkei gained 0.3 percent and Australian shares were up 0.7 percent. U.S. crude oil CLc1 was up 1.4 percent at $50.25 a barrel, already having surged more than 10 percent over the past two sessions as some investors bet that a bottom had been reached after a seven-month long rout. Currencies from oil exporting countries such as the Canadian dollar and Norwegian crown held on to solid gains as a result.

    The Canadian dollar rallied to C$1.2557 per USD, well off a near six-year low of C$1.2800. The Norwegian crown climbed as far as 7.6142 per USD, up 2.3 percent in the past two sessions. The Australian dollar was also swept off its recent low, climbing above 78 U.S. cents and off a near six-year trough of $0.7720. The euro stood steady at $1.1334 after gaining 0.5 percent overnight on hopes for a deal on Greek debt and poor U.S. economic data. The dollar was little changed at 117.62 yen after briefly touching a two-week low of 116.64 overnight.

    Gold prices held mostly steady on Tuesday in Asia, with investors looking ahead to Chinese New Year demand. On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures held nearly steady, down 0.02% at $1,275.20 a troy ounce. Also on the Comex, silver futures for March delivery declined 0.02% to trade at $17.212 a troy ounce. Silver rose 43.5 cents, or 2.59%, to end at $17.20 on Friday. Prices soared $1.47, or 10.31%, in January.

     

     


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