As Iran comes out of the shadow of sanctions and joins international trade again, the effects were felt across the globe Monday. Anticipation of a further glut sent the price of Brent crude oil tumbling below $28 and the stock markets reacted with appropriate apprehension.
The expectation of an end to sanctions on Iran and a far-from-stable global sentiment led to the U.S. markets all closing in negative territory Friday and Asian markets followed suit Monday, while China was once again the exception to the norm.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan and the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong lost 1.12 percent and 1.45 percent respectively. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was down 0.7 percent and Singapore’s Straits Times Index closed lower by 1.44 percent. The S&P BSE Sensex in India closed lower by 1.09 percent, its lowest close in 20 months. South Korea’s KOSPI recovered most of the day’s losses, and after being in the positive territory briefly, closed lower by only 0.02 percent.
China once again took steps to stabilize its currency and to curtail speculation. The People’s Bank of China made it compulsory for offshore yuan trading centers to keep a share of deposits in an account with PBOC. This caused the offshore yuan to appreciate. After opening in the red, market sentiment in the country soon turned positive, and the Shanghai Composite Index, Shenzhen Composite Index and ChiNext Price Index all finished trading up 0.44 percent, 1.9 percent and 2.94 percent respectively.
Cheaper oil and slower demand for commodities, as well as global market sentiment, slightly affected European stocks markets. The U.K.’s FTSE 100, the CAC 40 in France and Germany’s DAX all recovered from their day’s opening losses and were trading marginally in the positive territory.
U.S. stock futures were all trading up as well. Stock markets around the country were closed Monday on account of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
After slipping to $27.70 a barrel in early trade Monday, Brent crude, the global benchmark, had made its way back to above $29.