Shock as Oil Drops, Rouble Still Unstable; Dollar Rise Hits Global Stock Exchanges, Concerns Investors at Things to Come

Cape Times (South Africa), December 17, 2014 | Go to article overview

Shock as Oil Drops, Rouble Still Unstable; Dollar Rise Hits Global Stock Exchanges, Concerns Investors at Things to Come


BYLINE: Patrick Graham London

A PLUNGE in oil below $60 (R697) and the failure of an emergency interest rate rise to stabilise Russia's rouble sent another shock through global financial markets yesterday, adding to a growing sense of crisis in a volatile end to 2014.

Moscow's main stock exchanges fell by 5 percent and 9 percent respectively and those in Europe's big developed markets fell as much as half a percent in response.

Stock markets in Asia ended lower and the yen, one of investors' last refuges in times of economic stress, rose almost 1 percent as the rouble lost everything it gained after the central bank raised rates 6.5 points on Monday.

After a bumper few years driven by the huge quantities of extra cash pumped into the financial sector by the world's central banks, the struggle for growth in Europe and Japan and a slowdown in China has left investors deeply concerned at the shape of things to come.

"It may be that this is just a tremor in Russia and it may be isolated, but it is too early to say," said Neil Mellor, a currency strategist with Bank of New York Mellon in London.

"We always knew that the dollar's rise would send a shock through emerging markets and we can see that is happening."

A downbeat China factory survey had weighed on Asian shares earlier in the session, and surveys of sentiment in Europe's manufacturing and services did little to calm the mood.

"While some would have hoped to see disappointing China data result in growing calls for stimulus, this has not been the case today and we've actually seen investor concerns heighten," Melbourne-based IG Markets strategist Stan Shamu said in a note. …

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