Global equity markets were hammered once again by crashing oil prices, spelling more misery and fanning recession fears around the world. In Europe, the pan-European index FTSEurofirst skidded below the 1,300 mark to a 13-month trough at 1,275, down 2.65% for the day and a massive 11.20% for the month.
Energy shares led the decliners everywhere, with Britain's FTSE index down 156 points, or 2.65% to 5,722, while Germany's DAX plunged 222 points, or 2.31% to 9,437. France's CAC 40 index plummeted 123 points, or 2.90% to 4,147.
Amid all the doom and gloom, safe havens had a field day, with gold prices jumping 14 dollars, or 1.20% to a nine-day high at $1,101.70 an ounce. The precious metal's gains come as a crucial respite after three days of continuous losses, but uniquely though, silver futures didn't tag along their yellow counterpart, dipping 4 cents, or 0.25% to $14.08 an ounce.
Safe-haven yen also had it great, surging to a year high versus the dollar at 115.98, before trimming gains to trade at 116.81, still up an impressive 0.71%. Yen advanced 0.61% against the euro to 127.47, while flirting with a two-year peak versus sterling at 165.66.
Dollar limped lower after a spate of weak data, with inflation unexpectedly dropping 0.1% m/m, while Housing Starts fell to 1.15 million in December from November's 1.18 million. The greenback index slid 0.12% to 99.06, while giving up 0.21% versus sterling to 1.4190. Euro was largely unchanged against the dollar at 1.0911.