Oil prices slumped to their lowest levels in about seven years on Monday, with Brent futures leading the way with a more than 5.0% fall to $40.66; they last traded at $40.92 a barrel. U.S. crude futures joined Brent later at the seven-year low, plunging to $37.65, before trading at $37.69 a barrel.
The collapse in oil prices affected energy shares in Wall Street, pulling the major indexes down, with Dow Jones losing 117 points, or 0.66% to 17,730. NASDAQ fell 40 points, or 0.79% to 5,101. S&P 500 tumbled 14 points, or 0.70% to 2,077.
Clouding the picture; the Fed is expected to raise interest rates next week, in a move that would siphon off some liquidity from riskier assets around the world. Asian shares fell to three-week lows on Tuesday, with Japan's Nikkei giving up 1.07%. China's CSI300 lost 0.95%, after data showed the surplus in China's trade balance contracting in November to 343B Yuan, from 393B in October. Australia's S&P\ASX dove 0.91%, while Korea's KOSPI squandered 0.51%. India's Nifty slipped 0.25%.
Commodity currencies were badly hit by the oil rout and the weakening in China's trade numbers, with the loonie hitting an 11-1\2 year low against the U.S. dollar at C$1.3525. It was last trading at C$1.3521, down 0.14% for the day and near the multi-years bottom. Australian dollar fell to a week-low at $0.7222, down 0.62% for the day, and marking the third consecutive session of decline.
Data from Japan showed that the Japanese economy didn't go into recession, with the third quarter growth revised up to an annualized 1.0%, compared with a preliminary reading of a 0.8% contraction. The yen took strength from the data, gaining 0.22% against the dollar to 123.12. It rose 0.33% against sterling to 185.16.
Investors will be waiting for a variety of data today, most notably, manufacturing production for Britain, forecast to have stayed the same in October as September, compared with September's growth of 0.8 m\m. British manufacturing have stagnated this year, due to weaker global growth, especially in China, so a higher result would delight policy makers and possibly push sterling higher.
From Canada, building permits for October are forecast to have grown 3.2% m\m, compared with September's big contraction of 6.7%. The Canadian dollar has been under severe pressure in the last couple of sessions, and a better outlook for construction might help it stem the losses.