Monday 18 December 2017

Oil slump and weaker China roil markets

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Reuters
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

Irish shares fell sharply yesterday, as plunging oil prices and the slump in China roiled markets.

By the close in Dublin the ISEQ Overall Index had slumped 1.34pc, or 91.6 points, to close at 6,756.20.

Trade data out of China showed exports down for the 13th month in a row - the longest slump on record. Fear of a Chinese slowdown combined with consistent oversupply in the oil market has led to increased worries around the possibility of deflation in Europe.

Brent Crude fell below $40 a barrel yesterday for the first time since 2009 and a further fall in the oil market is seen as likely. Elsewhere, the mining giant Anglo-American said it would cut 85,000 jobs to cope with slumping prices for its products.

It was no surprise then that commodity stocks led the Irish market lower.

Kenmare Resources dropped 20pc, while Ormonde Mining dipped 16.67pc.

Of the major stocks, Smurfit Kappa fell 4.2pc after it was cut from "buy" to "neutral" by Bank of America.

Speciality baker Aryzta dropped 2.2pc to 44.32.

Only six firms ended the day higher. Kerry Group gained 0.6pc to close at 76.89.

It was a struggle elsewhere. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 1.8pc. The CAC 40 Index in Paris eased 1.6pc while Germany's Dax Index dipped 2pc. In London, the FTSE 100 Index closed 1.4pc lower.

"China is moving more toward consumption and, in this transition, it is the miners that get hurt the most," said Andreas Nigg of Vontobel Asset Management in Zurich. "As long as economic data disappoint you are going to have reactions like this."

Anglo American plunged 12.3pc in London.

Irish Independent

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