Stock markets rise on virus hopes as oil tanks

Governments are looking to lift some lockdown restrictions

Equity markets rallied Monday as governments across the world started to ease coronavirus lockdown measures, while oil prices tumbled as a supply glut offset output cuts.

US markets followed Asia and Europe higher after virus figures from some of the worst-hit countries provided hope that the peak of the crisis may have passed.

Stocks kicked off the week "in optimistic fashion", said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG trading group.

Ending lockdowns means one step towards the resumption of economic activity.

Germany on Monday said it had seen the slowest pace of infections and deaths since March 29.

In Italy, wholesale stores and restaurants will be allowed to resume business on May 4, Spain on Sunday let children play outside and Swiss hairdressers, massage parlours, florists and garden centres are reopening.

Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that a first stage of a reopening would start on May 15 if hospitalisations decreased.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain was beginning to "turn the tide" but it was too early to ease the lockdown.

- 'Better than doing nothing' -

Traders welcomed the overall improved picture, with most Asian markets kicking off the week with gains and Tokyo's main stock market closing up 2.7 percent.

The Bank of Japan on Monday ramped up its emergency monetary easing, and forecast the economy could contract by up to five percent in the year to March 2021.

The stimulus move was "largely symbolic, but it's better than doing nothing", Taro Saito, senior economist at NLI Research Institute, told AFP.

On oil markets, WTI lost nearly 30 percent, having already endured a hammering last week.

Worries about a lack of storage amid plunging demand for crude overshadowed signs that some countries -- including Kuwait and Algeria -- are starting to slash production in line with a deal hammered out this month.

Investors are meanwhile looking to meetings by two of the world's most powerful central banks, the Fed and the ECB, later in the week for news on stimulus measures.

- Key figures around 1540 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: UP 1.3 percent at 5,829.49 points (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 3.1 percent at 10,659.99 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 2.6 percent at 4,505.26 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 2.6 percent at 2,882.11

New York - Dow: UP 1.2 percent at 24,071.20

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 2.7 percent at 19,783.22 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 1.9 percent at 24,280.14 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.3 percent at 2,815.49 (close)

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 28.4 percent at $12.46 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 7.5 percent at $22.96

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0834 from $1.0816 at 2030 GMT on Friday

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 107.23 yen from 107.46 yen

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2415 from $1.2362

Euro/pound: DOWN at 87.29 pence from 87.46 pence

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