|11 June, 2018

Asian markets erase early losses, oil prices mixed

Investors await the outcome of the Federal Reserve's meeting

Global markets

Investors around the globe will be waiting for the outcome of the United States Federal Reserve's (Fed) meeting on Wednesday and the European Central Bank’s (ECB) meeting on Thursday to get more clues on the global economy.

Asian shares dipped early on Monday after United States President Donald Trump backed out of a joint Group of Seven communique over the weekend, in a blow to the group’s efforts to show a united front, but shares recovered the modest losses ahead of a U.S.-North Korea summit that might ease regional tensions.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped early but was last up 0.15 percent.


“What took place at the G7 weekend was within the scope of earlier expectations. And while the countries disagreed on trade, they did seem to show a unified front on the North Korean issue, so there is also a positive element from the G7 affecting risk sentiment,” Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management told Reuters.

Investors will be awaiting the outcome of the European Central Bank’s meeting later in the week.

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Middle East markets

Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates rose on Sunday while other markets in the region were mixed.

Dubai's benchmark index closed up 0.4 percent after the government announced over the weekend additional measures to boost the economy.

Banking and property shares boosted the index. Dubai Islamic Bank rose 1.2 percent after it said its 5.1 billion dirhams rights issue was nearly three times oversubscribed, and builder Arabtec surged 5.9 percent after gaining 4.3 percent on Thursday.

Abu Dhabi’s index rose 0.6 percent as major banks First Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank gained 0.8 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

In Qatar, the index dropped 0.2 percent, dragged down by banking shares, led by a 2.7 percent fall in Commercial Bank shares after it was announced on Sunday talks to sell its stake in UAE-based UAB to Tabarak Investments had ended without a deal.

Saudi Arabia’s index fell 0.8 percent, as top petrochemical company Saudi Basic Industries shed 1.3 percent. Shares in National Medical Care surged 9.9 percent to 61.3 riyals on the news that a unit of General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) reached a non-binding share swap deal with NMC Health that values each National Medical Care share at 70 riyals.

Egypt's index, the best performer, rose 1.4 percent as shares in Talaat Moustafa jumped 6.5 percent, and Egyptian Resorts rose 6 percent.

Kuwait’s index was flat, Bahrain’s index rose 0.9 percent and Oman’s index added 0.1 percent.

Oil prices

Oil prices were mixed on Monday as high demand from Asia failed to boost prices due to the rising Russian production and U.S. oil drilling activity.

According to energy services firm Baker Hughes on Friday, the number of rigs drilling for new oil production in the United States crept up by one to reach its highest level since March, 2015 at 862.

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $76.50 per barrel at 0215 GMT, up 4 cents from their last close.

But U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 8 cents at $65.66 a barrel.

“Non-OPEC supply is expected to rise sharply in 2019 led by US shale growth along with Russia, Brazil, Canada and Kazakhstan,” U.S. bank JPMorgan said in its quarterly outlook published on Friday.


The dollar edged 0.15 percent lower against a basket of six major currencies on Monday.

The greenback was down 0.1 percent at 109.455 yen.

Precious metals

Gold prices edged higher on Monday on a weaker dollar ahead of key central bank policy meetings and the U.S.-North Korea summit this week.

Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,299.30 per ounce at 0339 GMT.

(Writing Gerard Aoun; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)

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