Oil prices spiked to three-week highs after Russia's energy minister, Alexander Novak said Saudi Arabia proposed a mutual deal between the two energy superpowers to cut production by 5% each. If acted upon, the deal will help greatly in eliminating the supply glut infecting the markets now.
Brent crude futures rose $1.85, or nearly six percent to $35.80 a barrel, after earlier hitting a session-high at $36.10, the best since January 1. U.S. crude futures jumped also $1.82, or 5.60% to trade at $34.17 a barrel.
On another front, Britain's GDP growth accelerated in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 0.5% q/q from third quarter's 0.4% growth. Sterling traders cheered the data, driving the pound up 0.60% versus the dollar to 1.4354, more than wiping its Wednesday losses, while advancing a solid half a percent versus the euro to 0.7609.
Across to Asia, Japan's economy minister Akira Amari resigned from his post after a week-long battle over him taking alleged bribes from business people in exchange for favors. The yen rose fleetly, before tumbling back to 118.95 against the dollar, a 0.25% loss for the day, while plunging to a two-week low versus the resurgent sterling at 170.52, with a whopping one percent loss for the day.
European shares were down for the day after weak earnings for some of the major companies, like the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, which led the pan-European index down 0.23% to 1,336. Germany's DAX recorded a massive loss of 113 points, or 1.14% to 9,763, while Britain's FTSE fell 0.26% to 5,973.