Oil prices plummeted to fresh 12-year lows on oversupply fears, as Iran readies to dump more crude on the already saturated markets as soon as the nuclear-related western sanctions are lifted, which is likely on next Monday. Iran could pump as much as one million more barrels, further pressuring the battered prices., while earlier in the week, analysts at Standard Chartered predicted that prices could fall to as low as $10 before finding a bottom.
Brent crude futures plunged $1,34, or 4.50% to $29.54, with an intraday low at $29.31, the worst in 12 years. U.S. crude had it even worse, dropping $1.53, or 5% to $29.67, with an intraday low at $29.29, last seen in 2003.
Energy shares cratered in Europe, pulling European indices down to 13-month lows. The pan-European index FTSEurofirst faltered 2.40% to 1,302, while Germany's DAX dropped 270 points, or 2.85% to 9,517. France's CAC 40 index lost 111 points, or 2.55% to trade at 4,201, while Britain's FTSE fell 125 points, or 2.21% to 5,787.
Yen rallied sharply as investors frenziedly buy the safe haven, with the Japanese currency trading around a 5-month high against the dollar at 116.64, up more than 1.0%. It jumped to a nearly two-year high against sterling at 167.62, up an impressive 1.45%. Yen edged up 0.16% against the euro to 128.07.
Precious metals had a field day as well, with gold futures driving up 20 dollars, or 1.90% to $1,094 an ounce. Silver futures surged 32 cents, or 2.38% to $14.09 an ounce.