Chinese stocks tumbled another 2.4% at the start of the week, after weak data showed factory input prices fell by 5.9% y/y in December, same as the previous months, and a sign of persistent disinflation in the world's second biggest economy. The fall in China dragged other Asian markets down, with Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index diving 1.17%. Korea's KOSPI gave up 0.91%, while India's Nifty skidded 0.88%. Japan's markets are shut for a holiday.
Oil prices took a hit after the weak China data, as investors fear that demand growth in 2016 wouldn't be as strong as hoped for. U.S. West Texas Intermediary (WTI) crude futures fell 70 cents, or 2.16% to $32.44 a barrel, while Brent crude futures slid 40 cents, or 1.25% to $33.12 a barrel. all that is added to the 10% loss slapped on oil markets last week, with Goldman Sachs actually predicting the prices could fall to as low as $20 a barrel.
Following the turbulent moves in China and oil markets, volatility ruled currency market, with the yen jumping to a new 4-1/2 month high against the dollar at 116.70, before pulling back to 117.25. Yen hit a 15-month high against the struggling sterling at 169.34, before trading back at 170.32.
Sterling tumbled to its lowest level in five and a half years against the dollar at 1.4492, before paring losses to trade at 1.4525. It fell to a nine-month trough against the euro at 0.7552, before pushing back to 0.7514.
Precious metals benefited from the market turmoil as investors pick them up as safe havens, with gold futures driving up six dollars, or 0.55% to $1,103 an ounce. Silver futures added six cents, or 0.45% to $13.98 an ounce. Industrial metals on the other hand suffered deeply from the perceived slowdown in China's economic activity, with copper futures dropping more than 1 percent to $1.995 a pound.
There isn't a lot of data slated for today; with the most significant is Housing Starts for Canada, forecast at 213K for December, slightly higher than November's 212K. A big break upward could help the beleaguered loonie edge away from its 12-year lows now.