December 21, 2017 / 9:31 PM / a year ago

Australia shares on track to open higher; NZ slips in early trade

    Dec 22 (Reuters) - Australian shares are expected to open
higher on Friday, helped by improving metals prices and oil
prices closing at their highest since the summer of 2015.
    OPEC has started working on plans for an exit strategy from
its deal to cut crude supplies, fueling hopes it would not end
supply cuts abruptly. Meanwhile, aluminium prices hit six-week
peaks on Thursday as data showing lower output in China
reinforced expectations of tighter supplies.             
    The local share price index futures          rose 0.2
percent, or 13 points, to 6,028, a 32.4-point discount to the
underlying S&P/ASX 200 index         close. The benchmark fell
0.3 percent on Thursday.
    New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index         fell as
much as 0.2 percent in early trade, with industrials and
materials stocks pulling the index lower.

 (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh
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