Asian markets were on the upswing Thursday as investors were encouraged by the steady recovery of the U.S. crude oil market after this week’s historic plunge.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index gained nearly 300 points, or 1.5 percent, to close out Thursday’s session at 19,429.44.
The indexes in Hong Kong and Seoul also were in positive territory in late morning trading, while Shanghai and Sydney were flat.
In oil futures trading, the price of U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil was 6.2 percent higher at $14.64 per barrel, continuing its turnaround from Monday, when it fell to $-37.63 per barrel — the first time the price dropped below zero.
Economic activity has ground to a halt worldwide amid the coronavirus pandemic, wiping out demand for gas and causing such a massive glut of oil that producers may have to pay their customers to take the excess supply off their hands.
Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, also was back in positive territory, trading at $21.32 per barrel, up nearly 1 percent.