Markets in Asia diverge in late trade on Thursday

oil pump Image copyright Getty Images

Markets in Asia went in different directions in afternoon trade on Thursday, despite an earlier across-the-board boost from an overnight rise in the price of oil.

Brent crude, which is seen as the international benchmark, climbed 3.3% to $40.94 a barrel.

And the price of West Texas crude rose 5% to $38.32 a barrel.

Japan's Nikkei 225 closed up 1.26% to 16,852.35, supported by some of the country's big exporters.

Expectations that the European Central Bank (ECB) may announce further stimulus measures later on Thursday also helped buoy investor sentiment in parts of the region.

Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 was up in earlier trade, helped by energy-related stocks, but some lost ground later to close down 0.14% at 5,150.10.

In South Korea, the Kospi index rose 0.84% to 1,969.33.

In China

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption China's target for inflation is about 3%

Fresh numbers from Beijing showed China's consumer inflation rose to 2.3% in February, a positive sign for demand in the world's second-largest economy.

The National Bureau of Statistics figures showed that inflation had increased by the largest margin in nearly two years. The producer price index, however, fell 4.9% year-on-year.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended the day down just 0.06% to 19,984.42, while the mainland's Shanghai Composite closed 2% lower at 2,804.73.

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