Asian shares tumbled on Friday after China reported a set of weak data, fanning fresh worries of a slowdown in the world’s second-biggest economy and leaving investors fretting over the wider impact of a yet unresolved Sino-U.S. trade dispute.
The ECB formally ended its 2.6 trillion-euro crisis-fighting bond purchase scheme on Thursday. However, monetary policy is most likely to remain accommodative as ECB president Mario Draghi warned that the euro area’s growth outlook is likely to remain weak amid threats of a global trade war and the prospect of a hard Brexit.
The dollar firmed against most major counterparts on Friday as investor focus shifted to an expected U.S. interest rate hike next week, although gains are likely to be capped on greater uncertainty about next year’s policy outlook. Market participants are now turning their attention away from immediate global trade issues to the Federal Reserve’s Dec. 18-19 meeting. The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates by 25 basis points, its fourth rate hike this year though greater focus will center on the policy outlook for 2019, over which there is more uncertainty.
In the currency market, EURUSD stuck in its well-worn $1.1300-$1.14 00 range over the past few days, GBPUSD fell 0.4 percent to $1.2615, on track to post its fifth consecutive week of losses. It was down 0.9 percent so far this week. USDJPY stood at 113.57 yen, flat on the day but above this week’s low of 112.245 set on Monday.
In commodity markets Oil prices gave up some of their gains following inventory declines in the United States and expectations that the global oil market could have a deficit sooner than they had previously thought.U.S. crude futures edged down 0.6 percent to $52.27 per barrel and Brent crude slipped 0.8 percent to $60.94, after both gained more than 2.5 percent on Thursday