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Asian Stocks Broadly Lower, Qatar Worries Weigh On Oil

Asian Stocks Broadly Lower, Qatar Worries Weigh On Oil

David Cottle, Analyst


Talking Points:

  • Asian markets slipped as bearish global factors piled up
  • The freezing out of Qatar by various Gulf States goes on
  • Australian rates stayed put, which surprised no one

Get live coverage of Australia’s crucial official Gross Domestic Product release on Wednesday at the DailyFX Webinars

Asian stocks were broadly weaker on Tuesday, and you can take your pick from any number of gloomy reasons why.

Tensions escalated in the Middle East where Qatar has been frozen out of diplomatic relations by a number of Gulf States. They accuse the small emirate of succouring extremism. The markets are also looking nervously towards looming US Congressional testimony from recently dismissed Federal Bureau of Investigation Chief James Comey and also to the UK’s Thursday general election.

Wall Street injected a note of caution as stocks there pulled back Monday, albeit from close to record highs.

Sure enough, given all of the above, the Nikkei shed 1%, with Australia’s ASX 200 down by 1.5%. Mainland Chinese stocks also drifted lower but Hong Kong offered a rare sliver of trading-screen green.

In more local news the Australian Dollar was not much moved by an as expected decision from the Reserve Bank of Australia to leave interest rates alone. However it had been hit earlier by shock current-account weakness which may bode ill for Wednesday’s official growth figures. The US Dollar slipped to six-week lows against the Yen, which was unsurprisingly in line for a bit of its customary haven bid. News of still-weak but arguably improving Japanese personal earnings didn’t change things much for the currency.

Oil prices fell again, reportedly as investors fretted about the current Middle East spat’s likely effect on production cuts. Both US benchmark crude and international Brent shed about 20 cents apiece per barrel.

Gold prices made six week highs, again inspired by haven bids. Spot topped out at $1,284.95/ounce, it’s highest level since April 21.

The rest of the global trading day offers a light schedule of economic numbers. That said there are some important points in the mix. Investors can look forward to Eurozone retail sales, the US Job Openings and the Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).

--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

Contact and follow David on Twitter: @DavidCottleFX

DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.