|13 December, 2018

Thursday outlook: Signs of easing trade tensions boost global markets, oil prices

Asian shares surged on Thursday following Wall Street higher on easing trade tensions. UAE stocks gained on Wednesday, while the rest of Gulf was mixed. More commentary on oil prices, currencies and precious metals.

Image used for illustrative purpose. China Stock Markets Remain Volatile Amid Economy Fears

Image used for illustrative purpose. China Stock Markets Remain Volatile Amid Economy Fears

Getty Images/Kevin Frayer
  • Global markets rise on signs of easing trade tensions
  • UAE stocks surge, rest of Gulf mixed
  • Oil prices follow global markets higher
  • Dollar firms, gold retreats

Global markets

Asian shares followed Wall Street higher on Thursday, as signs of easing trade tensions between the United States and China boosted investor sentiment.

Chinese state-owned companies have bought more than 1.5 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans, Reuters reported Wednesday, in the first major U.S. soybean purchases in more than six months.


MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.2 percent in early Asian trade.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.09 percent to 24,635.88 points, the S&P 500 gained 1.01 percent to 2,663.44 and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.41 percent to 7,130.79.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that Beijing plans to replace the “Made in China 2025” initiative with a new one to play down China’s bid to dominate manufacturing and will seek to be more open to participation by foreign companies, citing people briefed on the matter.

“In the scheme of things and were this to prove true, this is far more relevant than China agreeing to restart purchases of American soybeans, or even reducing the tariff on US car imports from 40 percent to 15 percent, as has been indicated in the last 24 hours,” analysts at National Australia Bank said in a note, according to a Reuters report.

Middle East markets

Dubai’s stock market surged on Wednesday, adding 1.5 percent. Emaar Properties surged 6.4 percent, its largest rise since June 2017, after saying it had started business development operations in China.

Takaful Emarat rose 4.1 percent after Goldilocks Investment, part of Abu Dhabi Financial Group, bought a 29.5 percent stake in the firm.

Neighbouring Abu Dhabi’s index rose 0.5 percent.

Saudi Arabia's index gained 0.7 percent with its largest lender, National Commercial Bank, climbing 2.9 percent and top petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries gaining 0.7 percent.

The Qatari index dropped 0.5 percent, weighed down by banks and telecommunications firm Ooredoo, which shed 3.0 percent.

The Egyptian blue-chip index EGX30 was up 1.5 percent with its biggest bank, Commercial International Bank, increasing 3.2 percent.

Kuwait’s index dropped 0.4 percent, Bahrain’s index edged up 0.2 percent and Oman’s index dropped 0.3 percent.

Oil prices

Oil prices rose in early trading on Thursday tracking a surge in global markets and a drawdown in U.S. inventories.

U.S. crude inventories fell by 1.2 million barrels in the week to December 7.

International Brent crude oil futures were at $60.46 per barrel at 0213 GMT, up 31 cents, or 0.52 percent, from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $51.40 per barrel, up 25 cents or, 0.49 percent.

“Crude oil prices rose, helped by the easing trade tension, as well as a fall in inventories,” ANZ bank said on Thursday, according to a Reuters report.

“The news that China is looking to redraft its ‘Made in China’ 2025 plan boosted hopes that trade talks are progressing better than expected.”


The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major currencies, was steady at 97.088.

The dollar rose 0.15 percent against the yen, buying 113.45 yen.

Precious metals

Gold prices retreated on a firm dollar.

Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,244.56 per ounce, as of 0124 GMT.

U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,249.5 per ounce.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Shane McGinley)


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© ZAWYA 2018

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