Oil prices dropped to a three-month low, with Brent falling towards $81 a barrel, due to concerns over declining US gasoline consumption and a deteriorating demand outlook. American gasoline demand is expected to reach a 20-year low per capita next year, influenced by rising pump prices, inflation, and reduced discretionary driving, according to a US government report.
The S&P/ASX 200 is trading 0.26 per cent higher at 6,995.30.
The SPI futures are up 14 points.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Information Technology, up 1.86 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Materials, down 1.56 per cent.
The best-performing large cap is James Hardie Industries plc (ASX:JHX), trading 12.96 per cent higher at $46.64. It is followed by shares in Ramsay Health Care (ASX:RHC) and Yancoal Australia (ASX:YAL).
The worst-performing large cap is South32 (ASX:S32), trading 4.15 per cent lower at $3.115. It is followed by shares in Newmont Corporation (ASX:NEM) and Mercury NZ (ASX:MCY).
Japan’s Nikkei has gained 0.18 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.04 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has gained 0.90 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,975.40 an ounce.
Light crude is trading $0.01 lower at US$77.36 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 64.36 US cents.