May 17, 2020 / 10:25 PM / 15 days ago

Australia shares set to open higher as easing restrictions lift recovery hopes

    May 18 (Reuters) - Australian shares were set to open higher
on Monday as easing coronavirus-driven restrictions fuelled
hopes for an uptick in demand and gradual recovery from the
virus' economic fallout.
    Iron ore           prices soared to a 9-1/2 month peak on
Friday, while U.S. crude prices        climbed to their highest
since March on the back of strengthening demand as travel curbs
begin to be relaxed around the world.
    However, continuing trade tensions between Australia and
China could weigh on equities.             
    The local share price index futures          rose 0.6% or 32
points, a 31.2-point premium to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index
        close. The benchmark ended 1.4% higher on Friday.
    New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index         rose 0.4%
by 2214 GMT.

 (Reporting by Arpit Nayak; Editing by Daniel Wallis)
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