Asian markets retreated on Thursday morning, following Wall Street’s biggest decline of the year on Wednesday as investigations continue into U.S. President Donald Trump and his alleged transfer of classified information to Russia. On Wednesday former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed as a special counsel to oversee the investigation, a move which put additional pressure on Trump. On Wednesday the Nasdaq saw its worst day since Brexit with a loss of 2.57 percent, while the Dow and S&P saw their biggest declines of the year thus far.
In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of shares outside Japan fell 0.4 percent while Japan’s Nikkei 225 plummeted 1.5 percent. Australian shares were down 1.2 percent.
Currency and Commodity Market Movements
Currency markets were on edge on Thursday morning with the dollar falling against the yen to trade at 111.24 at 6:23 a.m. GMT, after hitting a three-week low of 110.530. The dollar has eased nearly 2 percent on the week against the yen. The euro was trading at $1.1137 after gaining overnight.
Oil prices were also lower on Thursday after data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration released on Wednesday showed that U.S. stockpiles fell 1.8 million barrels for the week ending May 12, to 520.8 million barrels. U.S. WTI crude futures lost 16 cents per barrel on Thursday to trade at $48.91 per barrel. Brent crude was down 18 cents per barrel, trading at $52.03 per barrel. OECD stockpiles gained 224.1 million barrels in Q1 2017 owing largely to large build in January, leaving stockpiles 307 million barrels above their five-year average going into the second quarter. In order to reduce the stockpiles drawdowns will have to average 25.6 million barrels per month for the remainder of the year, a goal which many think is unlikely.