Asian Stocks Head for Sharpest Two-Day Gain Since January 2017

Asia’s benchmark equities index headed for its sharpest back-to-back gain in 19 months as most stock markets in the region gained, led by a rally in technology companies.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1.2 percent to 162.19 as of 4:28 a.m. in Hong Kong. A gauge of the region’s technology companies jumped 2.1 percent, the biggest boost to the benchmark. Turkey’s rate increase, which was wider than expected, boosted emerging-market stocks and a surprise slowdown in U.S. inflation in August sent regional markets higher. News that the U.S. and China could be heading for another round of trade talks continued to boost sentiment.

Source : Bloomberg

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Ed Sheeran Named Best-selling Global Artist of 2017

British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran was named the world’s best-selling artist of 2017 on Monday, thanks to his album “Divide” and singles “Shape of You” and “Perfect.”

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said that “Divide,” which was released in March 2017, went multi-platinum in 36 nations.

Sheeran’s pop ballad “Shape of You” was also the best-selling single globally of 2017 and has been certified as multi-platinum in 32 nations, the organization said.

The IFPI said it was the first time that a recording artist has had both the best-selling album and single of the year.

Sheeran, 27, first found success in England in 2009 and 2010 by self-releasing his music online.

“Ed is truly an incredible songwriter, vocalist and performer, whose ability to tell stories and make people feel is what stands him out from the crowd,” Max Lousada, chief executive of recorded music for Sheeran’s Warner Music Group record label, said in a statement on Monday.

Sheeran, known for his ginger hair and shy demeanor, delighted fans last month by announcing his engagement to his childhood friend Cherry Seaborn, who he has known since he was 11 years old.

Canadian rapper Drake and his album “More Life” was named the second biggest seller globally for 2017 and the IFPI said Taylor Swift’s “Reputation” was third, despite being released only in November 2017.

Source : VOA

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China Crude Imports Top U.S. in 2017 as New Plants Boost Demand

China passed the U.S. as the largest importer of oil last year as new refining capacity and independent buyers boosted demand.

Inbound shipments averaged about 8.43 million barrels a day in 2017, up about 10 percent from a year earlier, according to Bloomberg calculations using General Administration of Customs data released Friday.

Imports may jump another 10 percent this year, according to BMI Research, as the country seeks to offset declines in domestic output and regulatorsexpanded overseas oil quotas. China raised the allowance for use of overseas oil by non-state companies for 2018 by 63 percent, according to the Ministry of Commerce, a further boon to the country’s buying.

The nation’s expanding appetite for crude was buoyed last year by an expansion at China National Offshore Oil Corp.’s flagship Huizhou refinery and the startup of PetroChina Co.’s new plant in Yunnan. Friday’s data showed the world’s largest energy user imported a total of 420 million metric tons of crude last year, up 10.1 percent from 2016.

Overseas shipments into the U.S. were about 7.9 million barrels a day last year, according to Bloomberg calculations using weekly government data.

Source : Bloomberg

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