Asian markets strengthened on Monday morning as traders eagerly await the start of the Brexit negotiations which are scheduled to begin later today. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.6 percent on Monday while MSCI’s broadest index of shares outside Japan were up 0.7 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.9 percent. The gains in Asia reversed the trend set on Friday on Wall Street, where the indices ended the week relatively flat after weaker-than-expected housing starts and consumer confidence data and the news that Amazon will be purchasing Whole Foods, the health-conscious supermarket chain an announcement that shook the tech sector.
Currency Markets Keep Moving
The British pound was steady, trading at $1.2768 as of 6:51 a.m. GMT, despite the upcoming negotiations and a suspected terrorist attack that took place in the Finsbury Park Area of London last night.
The U.S. dollar traded as high as 110.93 against the yen on Monday after the release of Japan’s trade data showed that the country’s exports rose 14.9 percent on year compared to the 16.1 percent expected. Japan’s trade balance showed a deficit of 203.4 billion yen compared to the 76 billion yen surplus expected.
Oil Prices Continue to Struggle
Oil prices were lower on Monday, weighed down by global surplus and the continuing increase in production in the U.S. The United States added 6 oil rigs last week. Signs of diminishing demand have also played a role in the lower oil prices. U.S. WTI futures were down .27 percent to $44.62 per barrel and Brent crude futures were down 0.25 percent to $47.25 per barrel at the end of Monday’s Asian session. Prices for both benchmarks are down about 14 percent since the end of May.