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Brent crude skids below $28 as Iran sanctions lifted

News Date: 18/1/2016 01:29:22
Oil prices extended their massive slump on Monday, after the U.N. nuclear watchdog announced that Iran has complied with the nuclear deal hatched last July. The United States and the European Union lifted the sanctions immediately after, opening the door for more oil exports from the Islamic Republic into the already saturated market, and putting more pressure on the collapsing prices. Last week, analysts at Standard Chartered predicted tat prices will fall to $10 a barrel before finding a bottom to bounce off it.  

Brent crude futures plummeted to $27.67 a barrel, their lowest level since 2003, before trading higher at $28.55, still down more than 1% for the day. U.S. crude futures dropped to $28.36 a barrel, before paring losses to $29.04, down 38 cents for the day.

Asian shares skidded in tandem, with Japan's Nikkei breaching the 17,000 level to trade at 16,955, down 1.20%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index tumbled 0.70%, while Korea's KOSPI traded flat at 1,878. China's Shanghai index bucked the trend, rising 0.80% as authorities take firmer actions to stabilize the yuan, but Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.60%. Wall Street will be closed today for Martin Luther King's holiday.

Dollar made modest gains, rising 0.12% against a basket of its peers to 99.10, while gaining 0.13% against the euro to trade at 1.0903. Dollar slipped 0.12% against sterling to 1.4275, still not far from a 5-1/2 year high at 1.4252. Yen edged down versus the American currency to 117.06.

Sterling bushed back against its rivals after heavy losses last week, rising 0.30% against the euro to 0.7640, while advancing 0.14% against the yen to 167.11.

Gold futures didn't take any gains from the markets tumble, trading flat at $1,090 an ounce, while silver futures added 5 cents, or 0.35% to $13.93 an ounce, inching closer to the pivotal $14 level. Copper saw solid profits as well after the stabilization in China shares, with the industrial metal's futures rising 0.70% to $1.961 a pound.

Not a lot of data is awaited today, with Italian trade balance expected to show a surplus of 3.24 billion euros for November, lower than October's 4.81B.  

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