In Australia, the ASX 200 traded up 0.27 percent, with the heavily-weighted financial sector up 0.14 percent and the country’s so-called Big Four banks all traded positive.
Shares of ANZ were up 0.15 percent, Commonwealth Bank was up 0.02 percent, Westpac up by 0.22 percent and the National Australia Bank added 0.08 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 was up 1.14 percent, while the Topix index rose 0.96 percent. In South Korea, the Kospi was up 0.34 percent.
Chinese mainland markets were also higher. The Shanghai composite rose 0.6 percent, while the Shenzhen composite added 0.65 percent.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 0.89 percent.
Elsewhere, the dollar rose from levels near 93.600 against a basket of currencies to trade at 94.087 on Monday mid-morning Asia time.
The euro traded lower at $1.1731, compared to levels above $1.176 in the previous week. The common currency declined after news emerged on Monday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s efforts to form a coalition government had failed, thus making the political outlook for Europe’s largest economy uncertain.
Merkel later said on Monday that she would prefer new elections to leading a minority government.
One economist predicted that Germany could soon return to the polls. “It looks like Germany will be heading back to the electorate following the collapsed coalition talks this week, and little sign of any appetite for a resumption of the Grand Coalition,” Rob Carnell, head of research for Asia at ING, wrote in a morning note.
Carnell added that the uncertainty of another election is “unhelpful for the region, though the [euro] seems to be weathering it quite well.”
Among other currency majors, the Japanese yen weakened from levels below 112.20 to trade at 112.63 to the dollar.
The Australian dollar prices traded at $0.7537, falling from an earlier session high of $0.7557. Earlier, the Reserve Bank of Australia released the minutes from the November monetary policy meeting, where the central bank had left the cash rate unchanged at 1.5 percent.
The minutes noted there was “considerable uncertainty around when and how quickly wage pressures might emerge” and how much of that would “add to inflationary pressure.”
The central bank also “sees some upside risks to non-mining investment, as well as infrastructure spending,” Wei Liang Chang, a currency strategist at Mizuho Bank, wrote in a note. He added, “All told, the broad tone reaffirms an unchanged monetary policy stance for now, without more durable signs of an uptick in wage inflation.”
Oil is also a focus for investors ahead of next week’s OPEC meeting in Vienna, where member states will decide if they would support an output cut deal beyond March next year.
Energy prices traded slightly higher on Tuesday morning, with U.S. crude up 0.11 percent at $56.48 a barrel. Global benchmark Brent also rose 0.11 percent to $62.29. That followed a 0.8 percent decline on Monday.
Reuters reported that Iran’s oil minister said Monday that a majority of OPEC members support extending output cuts beyond March next year, but the final decision will be made at next week’s meeting. Source: CNBC & Reuters