Safe havens made inroads on Tuesday as risk sentiment took a hit again from sliding oil prices, which led Asian shares lower after wide gains on Monday. The biggest winners of the day are the yen, and precious metals like gold and silver, while U.S. treasury bonds surged higher, sending yields across the board considerably lower.
Yen rose to an eleven-day high against the dollar at 112, before pulling a bit back to hover around 112.35, up half a percent on the day. The Japanese currency touched a fresh three-year peak against the flailing yen at 123.72, up also half a percent, while jumping 0.80% versus the tumbling British pound to trade at 158.59, a multi-year nadir as well.
Oil prices surged nearly seven percent yesterday on hopes of less U.S. shale output as crude companies go bankrupt and stop production, easing up some of the massive surplus flooding the markets now, but prices returned lower today as worries grew over Iran's promised increase in production, which would offset any decline in U.S. output.
Brent crude futures fell 66 cents, or 1.90% to creep back to the level of $34.03 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dropped 70 cents, or over two percent on the day, trimming their weekly profits but remaining considerably ahead for now.
Asian stock markets hit the skids as well, as traders take profits from yesterday's rises, with China's Shanghai index tumbling 1.21%, while Australian shares gave up 0.43%. Japan's Nikkei index lost 0.27% to trade at 16,067, while South Korea's KOSPI index dipped 0.28%. Hong Kong's shares similarly retreated more than one percent.
Wall Street closed Monday with wide gains, buoyed particularly by surging energy shares on the back of recovering oil prices, with Dow Jones ending 228 points higher, or 1.40% at 16,620. NASDAQ Composite jumped 66 points, or 1.47% to hover around 4,570. Standard and Poor's 500 index scaled 27 points higher, or 1.45% to close at 1,945.
An array of data is awaited today from across the globe, with German final GDP reading for fourth quarter expected to show a growth of 0.3% q/q, same as the previous reading, which is largely positive for the common currency and the Eurozone's economy.
From the United States, existing homes sales are expected to fall to an annualized 5.37 million in January, compared to February's 5.46 million sales, which is not positive for the greenback, and a bad indication for the state of the housing sector in the world's largest economy.