World stock markets have climbed to their highest in almost five months today after a surge in oil prices boosted risk appetite, while the euro has steadied ahead of a European Central Bank meeting.

European stocks crept higher at the open, with the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European shares briefly touching its highest level since early January as expectations for dovish rhetoric from the ECB supported sentiment.

In Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.8%, brushing its highest since early November.

Japan's Nikkei gained 2.6%, while Wall Street shares ended less than 2% short of a record-high close yesterday.

The MSCI world equity index rose to its highest level since early December.

Driving the positive sentiment in global stock markets was the rally in oil.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, extended yesterday’s strong gains to hit a five-month peak just above $46 a barrel after the International Energy Agency said 2016 would see the biggest fall in non-OPEC production in a generation.

US crude futures were last up 14 cents at $44.32 a barrel. Both crude prices have now gained 70% in value since their lows reached between January and February.

"It looks like the trough in oil is now behind us," said Chris Scicluna, head of economic research at Daiwa Capital Markets.

The upbeat tone towards oil resonated across world markets, with emerging market stocks rising to 5-1/2 month highs, while safe-haven German government bond yields rose.

Many other commodity prices were also firm, with copper rising to as high as $5,029.50 a tonne, its highest in a month. Silver hit an 11-month high of $17.5950 per ounce.

In London trade, the euro was flat at $1.1298, well below yesterday’s peak of $1.1388. Against the yen, it edged down about 0.2% to 123.84.

"The FX market is likely to pay particular attention today to what Mr Draghi has to say about further rate cuts," said Lutz Karpowitz, currency strategist at Commerzbank.

"Should he be any more outspoken on the matter than last time round, euro/dollar is likely to ease further. I would certainly steer clear of long positions."

Elsewhere, commodity-linked currencies held firm. The Australian dollar was at $0.7823, having hit an 11-month high of a $0.7830 yesterday.