World shares tapped the brakes on Tuesday as oil prices eased back from their highest level of the year, while Britain’s sterling took another dive as UK and EU ministers traded fresh Brexit blows.
The dollar was on the rise again as growing expectations of a US rate hike before the end of the year pushed up Treasury yields – the benchmark for the world’s borrowing costs – to the highest since early June.
European bonds managed to resist the selling but stocks could not.
They were down 0.2 percent despite broadly reassuring German sentiment data and a push towards a record high from London’s FTSE as the pound’s tumble continued to improve the look of its international firms’ profits.
Sterling was back under $1.23 and 90 pence per euro while the dollar muscled its way to an 11-week high as the rising rate hike bets came alongside waning support for Donald Trump in the US election race.
Saxo Bank’s head of FX strategy, John Hardy said the dollar’s push and the pound’s woes both looked set in for now. On the pound he added: “The whole Brexit scenario is providing the tailwinds here. Real money and real flows have to get out of their exposures to sterling.”
Sterling was not the worst performer for once however. South Africa’s rand slumped 3 percent and its bonds tumbled as prosecutors issued Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan with a formal summons in relation to a tax department investigation.
One of the other big global market drivers of recent weeks, oil, eased off a one-year high, meanwhile, to 52.73 a barrel for Brent and $51.01 for WTI as doubts lingered about OPEC plans to cut production.
Goldman Sachs said in a note to clients on Tuesday that despite a production cut becoming a “greater possibility”, markets were unlikely to rebalance in 2017.
In Asia overnight, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ended down 1.1 percent, a clear contrast to Japan as the Nikkei closed at its highest in more than a month, thanks to a weaker yen.
Most of Asia’s damage was done by South Korea and Samsung as it slumped 7.4 percent after it halted sales of its Note7 phones and told owners to stop using them while it investigates reports of fires in the devices.
China’s CSI 300 index advanced 0.2 percent and the Shanghai Composite rallied 0.4 percent, after Beijing unveiled guidelines to cut some of the massive amounts of corporate debt at state-owned companies.
The yuan hit another six-year low meanwhile as the dollar stood tall and market speculation of depreciation grew after the Chinese central bank set a weaker official guidance rate for the currency.