* Borders reopening to likely boost Melbourne-Sydney air
* Miners lead gains on rising iron futures
* NZ retail sales see strong rebound in Q3
Nov 23 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose to a near
nine-month high on Monday, as the country's two most populous
states reopened borders after more than four months, bolstering
hopes of a speedy revival from the coronavirus-induced economic
New South Wales and Victoria reopened their borders at
midnight after closing them off in early July. The borders were
last shut in 1919 during the Spanish flu pandemic.
Reopening of the borders is likely to jump-start air traffic
between Melbourne and Sydney, one of the busiest routes in the
world before the outbreak.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.7% at 6,582.6 at 0022
GMT, set for its biggest percentage gain in a week. The
benchmark index hit its highest since Feb. 28.
Travel-related stocks raked in significant gains, with
Qantas Airways climbing as much as 3% after the flag
carrier said domestic capacity would rise as a result of the
states reopening borders.
Sydney Airport Holdings and Regional Express
Holdings both advanced 1.6%.
Bourse operator ASX eased 0.6% after the country's
corporate regulator launched an investigation into an outage at
the country's stock exchange last week.
Meanwhile, Village Roadshow surged 16.7% after the
theme park operator received a sweetened takeover bid from
suitor BGH Capital.
Heavyweight miners led gains on the benchmark as BHP
Group and Fortescue Metals Group jumped 3.7%
and 5.6%, respectively.
Iron ore futures pushed higher as mills in China reported
shrinking steel inventories.
Woodside Petroleum rose 1.6% and Santos
gained 2.5% to be the biggest gainers on the energy sub-index
, as oil prices jumped on successful COVID-19 vaccine
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.3%
to 12,484.88, with Meridian Energy and Fisher and
Paykel Healthcare being the biggest gainers.
Retail sales in the country rebounded sharply in the third
quarter on the back of pent-up demand and looser virus curbs,
according to analysts at ANZ Research.
(Reporting by Arpit Nayak in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry