European markets fell at the opening bell on Wednesday, as a fresh slide in the price of crude weighed on the region’s oil majors.
Brent crude fell 1.7 per cent to $61 a barrel, leaving the benchmark on track for its fourth consecutive weekly fall after data showed US crude stockpiles increased last week.
The American Petroleum Institute said crude inventories rose 4.9m barrels in the week to June 7, compared with analyst expectations for a decrease. Oil has fallen nearly 20 per cent since late April, having rallied from $50 to $75 between January and April.
The composite Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.4 per cent in early trading, while Germany’s Dax dropped 0.3 per cent and London’s FTSE 100 was 0.3 per cent lower.
The index tracking the Stoxx 600 European oil and gas sector fell 0.7 per cent, with Tullow Oil falling 1.5 per cent, Total down 0.8 per cent and BP off 0.7 per cent.
Markets in Asia dropped, with China-focused stocks suffering the steepest declines. Hong Kong equities fell after demonstrators blocked access to the territory’s legislature in protest against a controversial extradition bill. The Hang Seng declined 1.8 per cent.
“Investors remain spooked the extradition bill could have far-reaching consequences for attracting overseas talent and does question the viability of Hong Kong as a leading financial hub,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner of Vanguard Markets.
The moves came as Chinese inflation data showed the steepest rise in consumer prices in 15 months in May, and as there appeared to be no signs of progress on a potential US-China trade deal. The CSI 300 of Shanghai and Shenzhen-listed stocks fell 0.8 per cent.
Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 ended marginally lower, snapping its longest winning streak in two months. Traders will watch for US consumer price figures, due later Wednesday, which are expected to show the headline consumer price index rose 1.9 per cent year-on-year last month from a 2 per cent pace in April.
- US CPI data
- South Africa retail sales
- Turkey central bank interest rate decision
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