Asian markets mixed as oil prices drop further

Asian markets were trading in mixed territory in the afternoon as oil prices slipped further into negative territory.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was lower by 0.13 percent after the morning session.

The mainland China markets, which have been closely watched by investors because of the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, were in mixed territory with the Shanghai composite fractionally lower and the Shenzhen composite gaining 0.336 percent.

The country reported industrial output for October was 5.9 percent higher than a year ago, higher than expectations from a Reuters poll. Fixed asset investment for October also came in above expectations at 5.7 percent higher as compared to a year ago.

Retail sales in October, however, came in below expectations at 8.6 percent higher year-on-year.

In Australia, the ASX 200 slipped more than 1.6 percent in afternoon trade while South Korea’s Kospi was also lower by 0.3 percent.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was trading flat while the Topix index rose 0.17 percent, giving up earlier gains.

Crude prices continue to slump and Asian oil stocks fall

In the oil markets, the U.S. crude futures contract fell 0.47 percent at $55.43 per barrel during the afternoon of Asian trade. The global benchmark Brent crude futures contract also shed 0.32 percent at $65.26 per barrel.

The moves in the crude markets came after oil prices fell more than 7 percent Tuesday to extend their losing streak to 12 straight sessions. Oil’s decline on Tuesday came after Trump said he hoped OPEC would not cut oil production in order to lift prices.

“Oil prices have dropped sharply since peaking in early October as oversupply concerns have deepened,” Vivek Dhar, a mining and energy commodities analyst at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said in a morning note.

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih had said on Monday that OPEC agreed there was a need to cut oil supply next year by around 1 million barrels per day from October levels.

Commenting on the Saudi move, Dhar said it “demonstrates the kingdom’s willingness to change strategy and lead from the front to address oversupply concerns.”

Dhar, however, warned that “any output cut by Saudi Arabia will require participation from other allied nations. And that could be an uphill battle.”

Australian oil stocks saw a broad declines in afternoon trade, with Santos slipping 5.33 percent, Woodside Petroleum declining 2.79 percent and Beach Energy dropping 5 percent.

The fall in shares of oil companies was also mostly seen in Japan, with Inpex falling 1.7 percent, JXTG shedding 2.27 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration dropping 1.96 percent.

Stocks of South Korean oil companies also saw losses, with S-Oil falling 5.75 percent and SK Innovation declining by 3 percent. Over in China, shares of Petrochina declined 2.36 percent while China Petroleum saw losses of 3.07 percent.

Renewed US-China trade talks

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 100.69 points to close at 25,286.49 while the S&P 500 slipped 0.15 percent to 2,722.18 by the closing bell — its fourth straight decline. The Nasdaq Composite closed largely flat at 7,200.87.

The major indexes had earlier hit their session highs after White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow confirmed reports of renewed talks between the U.S. and China on trade.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had resumed trade talks. The report comes ahead of a meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.096 after seeing highs above 97.6 yesterday.

The Japanese yen, which is widely seen as a safe-haven currency, was at 113.92 against the dollar after touching lows above 114 in the previous session. The Australian dollar traded at $0.7220 after rising from around the $0.717 handle yesterday.

Source: CNBC