Asian shares slipped on Friday as a warning on smartphone demand from the world’s largest contract chipmaker slugged the tech sector, while high oil prices stirred inflation fears and undermined sovereign bonds. Apple (AAPL.O) led the way after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing cut its revenue target to the low end of forecasts and blamed softer demand for smartphones. Oil prices were creeping up again after hitting their highest since late 2014 on drawdowns in global supply and as Saudi Arabia looks to fatten its export revenue. Brent crude futures edged up 6 cents a barrel, while U.S. crude added 7 cents to. A global oil glut has been virtually eliminated, according to a joint OPEC and non-OPEC technical panel, two sources familiar with the matter said, thanks in part to an OPEC-led supply cut deal in place since January 2017.
In currency markets, the main mover was sterling which dived late on Thursday when Bank of England Governor Mark Carney cooled expectations for an interest rate hike in May, pointing out there were “other meetings” this year. Sterling dropped more than a cent, leaving the week’s peak of $1.4373 a distant memory. The sudden retreat in sterling helped support the U.S. dollar more broadly and the dollar index was steady at 89.956. The euro also eased back a touch to $1.2341, while the dollar inched up on the yen and looked set to test the recent top at 107.78.