Trading in Chinese shares was halted yet again after plummeting more than 7.0%, repeating the story of Monday, and rattling Asian markets. The plugne was partly triggered after the central bank lowered its yuan midpoint by half a percent, sending the offshore yuan to a record low, and pushing other Asian currencies into competitive depreciation. Japan's Nikkei index hit its lowest in three-month, falling 2.33% for the day. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index dived 2.20%, while Korea's KOSPI tumbled 1.10%.
Oil prices deepened their losses, with Brent crude futures hitting a fresh 11-year low at $33.07 a barrel, down $1.25, or 3.63%. U.S. West Texas Intermediary (WTI) crude futures lost a dollar, or 3.02% to trade at their lowest since 2009 at $32.95 a barrel. Oil is expected to be pressured yet further in the future as Iran readies to pump more crude, and Libya could return to its previous production levels soon if the infighting there were to stop after the UN-brokered peace deal.
Investors went in droves to buy the safe-haven yet, helping it jump to a 4-1/2 month high against the dollar at 117.77, up half a percent. Yen hit a fresh 12-month high agaisnt sterling at 172.46. It rose 0.20% agaisnt the euro to 127.54, close to a 9-month high reached yesterday at 127.03.
Canadian dollar fell to a fresh 12-1/2 year low at C$1.4118 as oil prices keep tumbling. Australian dollar dove to two-month low at $0.7035.
Investors await a host of data today; from Germany, Retail sales for November are forecast to have risen a robust 2.4% y/y, compared with October's 2.1% growth, which would be good for the euro.
From the U.S., unemployment claims for last week are expected at 275K, lower than the previous week's 287K, and an indication of a strong jobs market, which would be positiv for the dollar.