Brent crude futures lost a further 17 cents, or 0.46% to trade at $36.55 a barrel, perilously close to an 11-year low at $35.98. U.S. West Texas Intermediary (WTI) crude futures on the other hand added six cents, or 0.15% to $36.66 a barrel. Oil remains under severe pressure due to excessive supply in the markets as producers pump ever-more volumes, while global demand growth can't catch up to all that. Further complicating things, Iran is readying to pump at least half a million barrels more once its nuclear-related sanctions are lifted off, and Libya is poised to regain its previous production levels if the UN-brokered peace deal that was announced recently holds up.
Asian shares was on track to end the year with a bad day, with China's CSI300 index for the biggest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen sliding 0.70%, but it was set for a robust yearly gain of about 6.0%. Japan's Nikkei is closed for the day, but it locked in an impressive yearly profit of 10%. Other markets weren't as lucky, with Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index down 0.45% for the day, and 2.13% for the year. Korea's KOSPI slipped 0.25%, while India's Nifty bucked the negative trend, rising 0.14% for the day.
Major currencies were largely flat, with the dollar's index trading at 98.29; on track for a good yearly gain of about 9.0%, supported by the Federal Reserve's decision to ramp up interest rates earlier in the month. Dollar barely rose by 0.02% against the euro to 1.0931. It eased 0.05% against sterling to 1.4825. Yen inched up 0.07% against the American currency to 120.42.
Commodity currencies had a very opposite outcome, plunging across the globe as minerals and oil prices dive to new lows. Canadian dollar last traded at C$1.3876, in line for a hefty yearly loss of about 20.0%, with similar heavy losses recorded by Brazilian real, Turkish lira, South African rand, and Russian Ruble.
Investors await the U.S. unemployment claims report for last week, forecast at 270K, slightly higher than the previous week's 267K. The lower the claims are, the better it is for the currency because it is indicative of a strengthening jobs market.