Yen extended its gains, as other currencies tumbled due to local factors, and after data showed vehicle sales soared by 20.0% in China, the second biggest consumer for cars in the world, and a lucrative market for Japanese manufacturers. Yen advanced by 0.62% against the euro to 133.06. It jumped to a seven-week high against sterling at 183.40, before settling back to 184.12, still up 0.13% for the day. Yen inched up 0.08% against the dollar to 121.35.
Dollar's index was up 0.35% for the day at 97.68, away from a 5-week trough touched yesterday. It rose 0.60% against the euro to 1.0985. Sterling on the other hand was pressured downward, after minutes from the last Bank of England meeting showed that policymakers are unprompted to raise interest rates any time soon, citing new drops in oil prices and slower wage growth, which pushes inflation away from the bank's targets. Sterling fell to 1.5115 against the dollar, before recovering some losses and trading at 1.5173 with a 0.06% loss.
Oil prices extended their losses, affected by the stronger performance of the dollar; U.S. crude futures hit a fresh 7-year low at $36.55 before scaling back to $36.75 a barrel, losing 40 cents, 1.10% for the day. Brent crude futures lost 30 cents, or 0.70% to $39.84 a barrel.
European shares were shaky, affected negatively by the commodities rout and the U.S. near-certain rate hike next week. The pan-European index FTSEurofirst hit a two-month low at 1,419, before trading at 1,427, losing 0.25% for the day. Britain's FTSE gave up 27 points, or 0.45% to 6,099. Germany's DAX and France's CAC indexes were more upbeat, recording gains of 0.34% and 0.14% respectively.
Wall Street opened higher, supported by a mega deal being considered between the two chemicals giants, Dow and DuPont, which would create a joined company worth about 130 billion dollars. Dow Jones gained 0.34%, while NASDAQ rose by 0.41%. S&P 500 added 0.34%.