TOKYO, Sep 28 (Reuters) Asian stocks hit a record high on Friday as surging oil and commodity prices boosted shares of resource producers, but Japanese shares lost steam after scaling a six-week peak the previous day.
The dollar hovered near a record low as this week's string of poor U.S. economic reports showing further deterioration in the housing market has reinforced expectations for further Federal Reserve interest rate cuts.
Hopes for looser monetary policy in the United States combined with signs of solid growth elsewhere have prompted investors to shift funds into stocks and commodities, with U.S. crude oil prices climbing back near a record peak of $83.90.
The broad MSCI Asia ex-Japan stock index hit an all-time peak of 533.36 and was up 0.5 percent at 533.09 at 0312 GMT. The index has gained about 12 percent in September and is poised for its biggest one-month surge in eight years.
The MSCI Asia ex-Japan has rebounded some 32 percent from its low in mid-August when the fears of a sustained credit crunch knocked shares down across the globe.
''Asian growth is likely to remain pretty strong: It doesn't have much exposure to subprime, and whilst a slowdown in the U.S. is a bit of a dampener, it won't derail the strong growth in Asia,'' said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors in Sydney.
Japan's Nikkei share average was down 0.3 percent as bank stocks gave back some of this week's gains, but exporters such as Canon Inc climbed on gains on Wall Street overnight.
The Nikkei is up 1.6 percent so far in September, lagging the hefty equity rise in other parts of Asia.
Hong Kong shares were down 0.2 percent, while Australian shares gained 0.8 percent to a record high for the second session in a row.
Oil extended its gains for a third day, driving back above $83 a barrel as the weak dollar and pre-winter supply worries fuelled fund buying.
''Right now many speculators and investors are looking into the energy market. Lots of new money is pouring into energy funds,'' said Kentaro Obata, Tokyo-based trading director at Astmax.
Commodities prices were also fueling stock gains after U.S. wheat prices hit record highs for a second straight day on Thursday and copper rallied to 10-week highs on the back of quarter-end investment fund buying.
JAPAN DATA POSITIVE A slew of economic reports in Japan showed consumer spending and industrial production were stronger than expected in August, while factory activity contracted at a slightly slower pace in September despite the credit market turmoil.
''It's clear that as of August growth was accelerating, which gives you a degree of comfort even if the U.S. weakens from here,'' said Richard Jerram, chief economist at Macquarie Securities Japan.
Fund flows in Japan were being partly driven by companies and institutions closing their books for the first half of the country's business year on Friday.
Dollar selling by Japanese exporters helped push the U.S.
currency down 0.5 percent from late U.S. trade to near 115.05 yen The euro edged up 0.1 percent to $1.4165 holding near a record peak of $1.4190 struck the previous day.
The dollar's trade-weighted index against six major currencies fell 0.1 percent to 78.287, a day after tumbling to an all-time low of 78.159.
The dollar index has shed 3.2 percent in September, and is set for its largest monthly drop since April 2006.
Japanese government bonds jumped on the back of gains in U.S.
Treasuries overnight and other data showing Japanese core consumer prices fell in August year-on-year for a seventh straight month, cooling some speculation the Bank of Japan could lift rates later this year.
December 10-year JGB futures climbed 0.53 point to 134.97, rebounding from a six-week low of 134.32 struck the previous day.
REUTERS SG BD0930