Oil decline fuels global stock rout

Eddie van der Walt
Bloomberg News

Stocks in Europe and Asia extended the global rout Monday, as crude oil hemorrhaged at a 12-year low on the prospect of a bump in exports from Iran.

The MSCI All-Country World Index slipped to its lowest point since July 2013, as banks drove the Stoxx Europe 600 Index to a 13-month low and Japanese and Hong Kong shares led losses in Asia. U.S. index futures dropped, with regular markets closed for a holiday Monday, after equities tumbled at the end of last week.

Brent oil dipped below $28 a barrel and traded around its weakest level since the end of 2003 after the lifting of sanctions on Iran paved the way for an increase in oil output amid a global glut in the commodity. Polish bonds fell after the country received its first-ever sovereign credit downgrade.

Oil’s selloff and slowing growth in China have ignited a wave of volatility through global financial markets in 2016, pushing indexes from China and Japan to Europe toward bear markets. Iran said it is aiming to raise shipments by 500,000 barrels of oil a day following the removal of the sanctions, a move that would likely exacerbate the global oversupply issues that have dragged crude prices down more than 20 percent this year.

Figures Monday indicated improvement in China’s property sector, ahead of data Tuesday that will include an update on gross domestic product in Asia’s largest economy.

“Volatility indexes are on levels which are far away from calm waters,” said Guillermo Hernandez Sampere, head of trading at MPPM EK in Eppstein, Germany. “We are still in risk-off mode, so don’t expect a V-shaped’ correction to the upside. As a value investor, we see this as a buying opportunity for the mid or long term.”

MSCI’s All-Country gauge was down 0.5 percent in a second day of losses as of 4:05 p.m. in New York. The index has slumped more than 9 percent in 2016, as U.S. stocks extend their worst start to a year on record and gyrations in Chinese equities fuel risk aversion among investors. The Stoxx 600 fell 0.4 percent on Monday as an index of banking stocks dropped 1.9 percent, leading 11 of the gauge’s 19 industry groups fell.

Brent crude futures declined 1.3 percent at $28.55 a barrel, after earlier falling as much as 4.4 percent to $27.67. Prices pared losses after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which supplies about 40 percent of the world’s oil, predicted production outside its members would drop this year by 660,000 barrels a day. That deepened the decline from its previous estimate by 270,000 barrels a day.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4 percent amid evidence of a recovery in Chinese house prices and as speculation grew equities had been oversold after the benchmark gauge capped a drop of more than 20 percent from its most recent high last week, the common definition of a bear market.

The yen retreated from close to a four-month high after China’s central bank helped calm investors’ nerves by strengthening the reference rate it uses to manage the yuan by the most in almost a month.