Iran deal dents oil prices, bolsters Asia shares

Published: 25th November 2013 10:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th November 2013 10:57 AM   |  A+A-


Oil prices hit the skids on Monday after Iran and six world powers sealed a deal curbing its nuclear programme, a fillip for global economic growth that found expression in heartier share prices from Tokyo to Seoul.

The agreement gives Iran some relief from crippling sanctions and is considered a big step toward a more lasting treaty. While Iran will not be allowed to increase its oil sales for six months, any easing of Middle East tensions tends to lead to lower crude prices.

Brent crude oil shed $2.47 to $108.58 a barrel, its biggest daily drop in a month. U.S. oil lost 88 cents to $93.96 a barrel.

If sustained, the drop would be a net plus for spending power globally given high petrol prices essentially act like a tax on consumers.

"Positive growth signals continue to trickle out across the global economy and there is growth convergence between developed and developing economies," said Peter Dragicevich, a strategist at CBA.

"Our world GDP "nowcasting" estimate points to accelerating global economic growth in the final months of 2013. This is the general trend we expect to occur in early 2014."

Attention in Asia was again on Japanese markets as a sliding yen promises to boost exports and profits. The Nikkei sped ahead by 1.3 percent, having gained almost 11 percent in little more than two weeks.

On Wall Street, the Dow ended Friday with gains of 0.3 percent, while the S&P 500 added 0.5 percent for its first ever close above 1,800. Early Monday, S&P 500 futures had added another 0.3 percent.

But with money flooding into developed world assets, emerging markets are getting cold-shouldered. It was notable that MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan failed to make any headway at all last week, even as Wall Street made new peaks.

So far on Monday, the index was up 0.4 percent, as Seoul shares led the way with an increase of 0.7 percent.

Yen Pain is Euro's Gain

In currency markets, the yen remained under pressure as investors use it for carry trades -- borrowing the currency at super-low rates to invest in higher-yielding assets elsewhere.

The dollar was up at 101.78 yen having cracked the old July top of 101.53. Much of the action was in the euro against the yen, which has had a barnstorming run to reach four-year highs above 137.80 yen.

Euro-yen bulls now have their eyes set on a series of peaks from 2009 ranging from 137.43 all the way to 139.18, the top for that year. A break of the 139.18 level would take the euro to territory not visited since October 2008 -- very bullish from a technical point of view.

Oddly, the gains have come even as the European Central Bank sounds ever-more dovish on policy.

Earlier on Monday, ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure reiterated the central bank would take further action should inflation slow further. [ ]

The single currency was been particularly strong against the Australian dollar, which has been undone by threats of intervention from the Reserve Bank of Australia.

The euro leaped almost four full cents last week as the Australian currency crumpled to a three-month trough.

Traders said the commodity currency could continue to struggle particularly if tensions between China and Japan grew.

China at the weekend suddenly imposed new rules on airspace over islands at the heart of a territorial dispute with Tokyo, prompting Japan and ally the United States to warn of an escalation into the "unexpected".

There is no major economic data due in Asia on Monday, while most of the U.S. economic releases will be front-loaded this week ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.

The U.S. diary includes figures on housing starts and prices, consumer confidence, durable goods orders and manufacturing in the Chicago area.


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