In Asia, futures implied a higher open for equities in Japan. Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were up 0.75 percent at 20,420, and Osaka futures were 0.56 percent higher at 20,380, at 6:22 a.m. HK/SIN. Those were above the Nikkei 225’s previous close of 20,267.05.

Australian SPI futures were mostly unchanged, tracking 0.06 percent lower at 5,661, compared with the S&P/ASX 200’s Wednesday close of 5,661.

Potential market movers in the day include Chinese insurer ZhongAn Online, which will make its debut on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

On the energy front, Brent crude slid close to 1 percent to settle at $57.90 a barrel. U.S. crude added 0.5 percent to settle at $52.14 as U.S. stockpiles drew down more than expected last week, Reuters reported.

In economic news, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand on Thursday kept its cash rate steady at 1.75 percent. The central bank also said in a statement that a softer Kiwi dollar would help to fuel inflation. That was a slight change in language from the RBNZ’s August statement that said a weaker Kiwi dollar was “needed,” Reuters reported.

The Kiwi dollar traded at $0.7203 at 6:54 a.m. HK/SIN, barely changed from Wednesday levels.

Elsewhere, the Bank of Thailand on Wednesday kept its policy rate unchanged, as was widely expected. Still, the move was contrary to calls from the government to cut rates due to the firmer Thai baht, according to local media.

In other currency moves, the Canadian dollar fell sharply against the dollar overnight after Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz gave a speech seen dovish by the markets. The loonie traded at 1.2476 to the dollar at 7:03 a.m. HK/SIN, weaker than the 1.23 handle seen for the past week.

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