Asian shares got off to a lacklustre start on Monday, after rising inflation and a hawkish tone from the U.S. Federal Reserve Chair rekindled expectations that the Fed is on track to hike interest rates. Activity was likely to be thin this session, as UK and U.S. markets are shut on Monday for the Spring Bank Holiday and Memorial Day respectively. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down about 0.1 percent in early trade.
Crude oil futures edged up on Monday, buoyed by healthy Asian appetite and demand from the U.S. driving season. U.S. crude prices were up 14 cents at $59.86 a barrel. "Global oil demand continues to surprise to the upside, with April data showing no signs of slowdown despite a pick-up in prices," Energy Aspects said.
OPEC is unlikely to change its production ceiling when the group meets in June, Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Sunday, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency. "Lowering OPEC's production ceiling requires consensus between all members ... under current conditions it seems unlikely that the OPEC production ceiling will change," Zanganeh was quoted as saying. Last month, Zanganeh said the producing group should cut its target daily crude production by at least 5 percent, or approximately 1.5 million barrels per day.