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Oil slips, nudging Asian shares down

News Date: 19/2/2016 02:17:51
Oil prices gave up their gains yesterday and extended their losses today after the Energy Information Administration reported a 2.1 million barrels buildup in U.S. crude inventories, adding to worries about oversupply issue and waning demand in America, the world's largest oil consumer, and in China, the world's second largest, which is beset by growth risks.

Brent crude futures slid 24 cents, or 0.70% to trade at $34.05 a barrel, away for the moment from the important level of $35. U.S. West Texas Intermediary (WTI) crude futures moved at $32.72 a barrel, down 23 cents on the day, or 0.68%.

Asian shares registered considerable losses, led down by energy shares, with the sentiment overall souring, as Japan's All Industries Activity indicator tumbled 0.9% m/m in December, and the yen regained some of its strength, affecting exporters in Japan and cutting into their profits.

Japan's Nikkei index dropped 1.42%, while Australian shares gave up nearly 0.80%. China's Shanghai index lost 0.28%, extraordinary small compared to the index's past volatile movements. South Korea's KOSPI on the other hand bucked the downward trend, advancing 0.40% on the day.

The dollar index was largely flat today, dipping 0.04% to 96.80, while sterling gave up 0.10% against the greenback, bogged down by Brexit worries. The euro scored a meager profit of 0.07% to trade at 1.1115, but still was kept down by prospects of more ECB easing in March.

Gold prices didn't move away from their last close, with the precious metal's futures hovering around $1,226 an ounce, while silver futures fell three cents, or 0.21% to trade at $15.40 an ounce, comfortably above the level of $15.

Investors await for a bunch of inflation data today from North America, as the Core CPI from Canada is expected to have risen 0.2% m/m in January, much better than December's 0.4% drop and good news for the loonie.

From the U.S., CPI for also January is forecast to have fallen 0.1% m/m, same as December, which could hold the Fed back from raising interest rates this year, affecting the U.S. dollar negatively.

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