Oil Prices, Stock Markets Slide; Dollar Higher


Oil prices and stock markets slumped Friday, with Brent North Sea crude tumbling under $70, while the dollar strengthened as the Federal Reserve flagged more U.S. interest rate hikes.

The Brent benchmark struck a seven-month low on surging U.S. energy stockpiles before a weekend meeting of major oil producing nations.

Wall Street joined European and Asian stock markets in losing ground as a rally triggered by unsurprising US midterm election results faded away.

Shortly after the opening bell the Dow Jones index was off 0.6 percent while mid-session London's benchmark FTSE 100 index and Paris had both retreated 0.6 percent, as markets waited also on a Brexit deal to smooth Britain's bumpy exit from the European Union.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 index was also in the red, losing 0.3 percent amid worries over Italy's troubled economy and Asian equities also endured losses.

Tokyo ended down 1.1 percent. Hong Kong shed 2.4 percent and Shanghai finished 1.4 percent lower, also after data showed another drop in Chinese factory prices, while tech firms were hit by a series of weak earnings results from mainland firms.

- Oil majors tank -

Benchmark oil contract, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in January, slumped to $69.13 per barrel, the lowest level since April before recovering somewhat, but still hovered three quarters of a dollar off Thursday's close.

New York's West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for December tanked to a February low of $59.26 per barrel.

David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets, told AFP that "rising U.S. stockpiles, rising U.S. production -- which is now at a record-high -- and talk of Iraq and Indonesia raising output next year are all factors as to why oil is lower. Ongoing concerns about China slowing down is a factor too."

Madden added that the "price needs to strike a balance, of being cheap enough to keep demand strong, and keep (U.S President Donald) Trump happy, but not so low that their oil revenue drops drastically."

Capital Economics meanwhile warned that as the global economy slows into 2019 the U.S. market would take a buffeting.

"We think that the global economy will slow next year," said the consultancy, adding that "we forecast that the U.S. stock market will fall by nearly 15 percent in 2019."

Shares in European energy companies tanked as oil slid back.

BP shed 2.0 percent, Shell gave up 1.0 percent and Total lost 2.5 percent.

Stock markets had enjoyed a midweek rally after traders bet that the expected gridlock on Capitol Hill would keep U.S. President Donald Trump from pushing through measures that would likely stoke inflation and in turn rate hikes.

Rising U.S. borrowing costs have been one of the major issues weighing on global equities this year.

However after its latest policy meeting Thursday, the Fed repeated that it expected "further gradual increases" in the key interest rate as the U.S. economy strengthens.

- Key figures around 1500 GMT -

Oil - Brent Crude: DOWN 73 cents at $69.92 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 91 cents at $59.76

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.6 percent at 26,026.32

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.6 percent at 7,097.37 points

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.3 percent at 11,493.33

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.6 percent at 5,100.70

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.4 percent at 3,224.49

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.1 percent at 22,250.25 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 2.4 percent at 25,601.92 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.4 percent at 2,598.87 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1351 from $1.1364 at 2200 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3028 from $1.3063

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 113.88 yen from 114.07 yen

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