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Australian shares likely to open higher; NZ drops

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April 22 (Reuters) -Australian shares were set to open higher on Monday as improving China demand coupled with easing geopolitical tensions in the Middle East may fuel a rise in commodity prices, indicating that miners and energy stock might rally on the resource-heavy bourse.

The local share price index futures YAPcm1 rose 0.4%, a 53.7-point premium to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO close. The benchmark fell 1% on Friday.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index .NZ50 fell 0.4% to 11,753.2300 points by 2222 GMT.

Reporting by Rajasik Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler

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