Oil prices kept going with their downward spiral, with the futures tumbling to new 12-year lows and recording losses near 20% so far this year in just a week and a half. Brent crude futures dived 46 cents, or 1.50% to $31.12 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediary (WTI) crude futures dropped 68 cents, or 2.18% to $30.73 a barrel. The mood of the market was so gloomy, that the analysts of Standard Chartered predicted that prices could fall to as low as $10 a barrel before traders adjust their positions upwards.
Chinese shares, which were the source of all instability lately in the markets, have risen 0.60% today after tanking more than 5% yesterday; but other Asian markets remained weak, with Japan's Nikkei leading the decliners with a 2.80% loss to hit a three-month low at 17,186. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index slipped only 0.14% however, while Korea's KOSPI edged down 0.08%. India's Nifty dropped half a percent.
Dollar was slightly down after good gains on Monday, with its index down 0.15% at 98.77. Dollar gave up 0.20% against the euro to trade at 1.0882, while sliding 0.23% against the yen to 117.51.
Sterling had it much worse however, after its Monday's profits got evaporated, trading last at 1.4519 against the dollar, down 0.15% for the day, and perilously close to a 5-1/2 year low at 1.4494. It lost 0.36% against the euro to 0.7496, not far from an 11-month trough at 0.7552.
On related news, copper prices suffered deeply, touching 6-1/2 year lows at $1.969 a pound. Gold futures inched down a dollar, or 0.10% to $1,095 an ounce, while Silver skidded 4 cents, or 0.30% to $13.82 an ounce.
Awaited for release today; Britain's manufacturing production data, forecast to have risen 0.1% m/m on November, following a drop of 0.4% in October. Industrial production on the other hand is expected to stay flat in November. Britain's manufacturing sector has suffered from weak global demand, and a big break upward could help sterling drive away from its several-year lows now.