Markets Struggle with Choppy Start to Week

Asian shares were broadly lower on Monday as inflation fears fueled projections that global central banks may tighten monetary policy more aggressively in the near term. Friday’s U.S. payroll reports showed that wages were growing at their fastest pace in over eight years, spurning global inflation concerns.

Wall Street retreated from its highs on Friday after the report, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 250 points for a brief time before bouncing back, though it stayed firmly in the red throughout Friday’s trading session. All three American indexes saw their worst weekly losses in two years at the end of last week after closing the previous week at record highs.

U.S. futures were broadly lower on Monday morning, and Asian shares fared equally weakly, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 index trading down 2.44 percent as of 2:12 HK/SIN. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was 1.13 percent lower, Australia’s ASX 200 was 1.56 percent lower and South Korea’s Kospi declined 1.21 percent. Only the Shanghai Composite was immune to the downtrend, trading up 0.51 percent in the early afternoon on Monday.

Oil prices were also down substantially on Monday, with Brent crude falling near monthly lows, prompted by a stronger dollar and a wider market selloff. Brent crude futures were at $67.91 per barrel, down nearly 1 percent after plummeting nearly 1.5 percent on Friday, and U.S. WTI futures were down 0.86 percent to $64.89 per barrel, after easing 0.5 percent on Friday. Data out of the U.S. last week showed that U.S. production exceeded 10 million barrels per day in November for the first time since 1970, and U.S. production is largely expected to remain at this level or to increase in the coming weeks. U.S. oil drillers added six oil rigs last week, increasing rigs for the second consecutive week.

Sara Patterson has a Master’s Degree in political science and enjoys analyzing both current events and the international markets to get a fuller perspective of the currency market. Before turning to financial writing, she taught English writing skills to high-school age students. Sara’s work has been published on various financial and Forex blogs.