Oil resumed its downward spiral after a halt yesterday cheered battered U.S. markets. Brent crude futures lost 46 cents, or 1.50% to trade at $30.54 a barrel, after making its first daily gain of the year yesterday, rising 2.67%. The futures are on track for a hefty weekly loss of 9%, while U.S. crude futures had it even worse, sliding 62 cents for the day, or 2 percent to $30.58 a barrel, with a weekly loss of nearly 8%.
Asian shares dropped to 3-1/2 year lows as the oil decline spooks investors, and after China data showed weaker-than-expected yuan borrowing in December. China's Shanghai index gave up 2.34%, while Japan's Nikkei fell 0.80%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index lost 1.40%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index skidded 0.35%, while Korea's KOSPI dived 1.20%.
Wall Street closed with strong gains after the brief oil recovery lifted energy shares more than 4%. The Dow Jones ended higher 227 points, or 1.41% at 16,379. NASDAQ jumped 88 points, or 1.97% to 4,615. S&P 500 added 31 points, or 1.67% to close at 1,921.
Precious metals were buoyed by investors seeking safe havens in such turmoil, with gold futures rising nearly seven dollars, or 0.62% to $1,082 an ounce, while silver futures notched up 9 cents, or 0.63% to trade at $13.83 an ounce. Industrial metals had it bad however on fears of China growth, with copper futures slipping half a percent to $1.964 a pound.
The dollar index, which measures its performance against a basket of its peers, edged down 0.10% to 99.01, Dollar slipped 0.18% against the euro to 1.0885, while inching up 0.06% against sterling to 1.4403. Safe-haven yen rose strongly against the greenback as the risk-off sentiment strengthens, with the Japanese currency advancing 0.30% to 117.77.
A spate of U.S. data is awaited today, most importantly retail sales for December, forecast to show a 0.1% m/m drop, while the Producer Price Index (PPI) is expected to fall 0.2% m/m, both would negative for the dollar.