Asian stocks looked set to end 2016 on an upbeat note, with the benchmark headed for its first annual gain in three years, while the dollar reversed earlier losses and oil was poised to record its biggest gains in seven years. Sonia Legg reports
They may have been celebrating at Tokyo's stock exchange but the Nikkei's just had its worst performance in five years. It closed down 0.2 percent to end the year up just 0.4 percent. A 21 percent surge in the safe-haven yen from the start of the year to after the Brexit vote was a key factor. The Japanese currency fell after the U.S. election but was still set for a 3 percent gain versus the dollar. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) CEO OF TOKYO STOCK EXCHANGE, AKIRA KIYOTA, SAYING: "The unimagined victory by Donald Trump hit Tokyo stock markets, as they were the first to open after the U.S. election, with severe reactions by investors. But the U.S. market unexpectedly welcomed the new president and Tokyo shares recovered." Outside Japan, Asia stocks were on course to end 2016 on an upbeat note. The benchmark MSCI seeing its best performance in four years, after a 3.8 percent gain. Thailand was set to be the region's best performing major market with a 20 percent increase. Indonesia wasn't far behind at 16 percent. China looked like being the laggard with a 12 percent loss. Malaysia and the Philippines were the other fallers. The Chinese yuan was on course for its biggest annual loss since 1994 while gold touched a two week high, as investors sought safe havens after the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump. Oil prices inched up on optimism over a deal to curb output. U.S. crude was on track for a 47 percent surge this year recovering all its 2015 losses Brent crude was doing even better, heading for a 53 percent gain and virtually back to where it was at the start of 2015.