Dollar, US bond yields drop as oil tumbles on output cut doubts
The dollar and US bond yields fell on Monday as investors reversed a "Trumpflation" trade that has gripped markets since the US elections, after oil prices slid on fears that producer countries meeting this week could fail to agree an output cut.
Brent crude futures last traded at $47.13 per barrel, down slightly on the day, after having fallen by as much as 2.0% in early Asian trade, following on from a 3.6% fall on Friday as doubts arose over whether the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would reach a deal later this week.
Prospects of reduced upward pressure on inflation from oil prices, prompted investors to temper expectations for rises in US interest rates, bring down treasury yields and the dollar.
That gave some relief to Asian shares, which had underperformed on worries about capital flight to higher-yielding US markets in the weeks since Donald Trump's November 8 election win.
MSCI`s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.6%, led by gains in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
In contrast, US stock futures slipped 0.2% after their stellar performance this month on hopes President-elect Trump`s policy of fiscal spending, deregulation and protection of domestic industries will boost US inflation and benefit Corporate America.
European shares are expected to dip, with spread-betters looking at a fall of 0.2% in Germany's DAX and 0.1% in Britain`s FTSE.
Japan`s Nikkei average, which had performed even better than Wall Street thanks to the yen`s fall, ended down 0.1%.
"It will be scary to think markets may fully reverse their moves since the elections, changing their mind that Trump`s policy may not be so good after all," said Bart Wakabayashi, head of Hong Kong FX sales at State Street Global Markets.
Wall Street`s four main indexes all hit record highs last week, a feat last achieved in 1999.
Yet some investors question whether the market may have got carried away with optimism on Trump`s policy, given the uncertainty on the political neophyte`s presidency, including on how closely he can work together with the Congress.
But languishing oil prices, giving investors a more immediate reason to have second thoughts about how prospects for inflation and US interest rates.
Saudi Arabia said on Friday it will not attend talks on Monday with non-OPEC producers to discuss supply cuts.
"Oil prices have fallen considerably on worries about the deal. That would pressure energy shares, and could hit the entire stock markets. Given their rally in recent days, it`s no surprise to see some adjustment," said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management.
Saudi Arabia`s energy minister Khalid al-Falih said on Sunday that he believed the oil market would balance itself in 2017 even if producers did not intervene, and that keeping output at current levels could therefore be justified.
His comments raised worries that a preliminary agreement reached in September for OPEC to reduce output to between 32.5 million and 33 million barrels per day may fall apart when OPEC ministers meet on Wednesday to finalise that deal.
OPEC also wants non-OPEC producers such as Russia to support the intervention by curbing their output and many market players still expect them to reach a deal.
As lower oil prices reduce inflationary pressure, they sapped momentum for a sell-off in US Treasuries and a rally in the dollar, the market`s favourite play since the US election.
The dollar sank more than 1.6% against the yen to as low as 111.355 yen, down sharply from its eight-month high of 113.90 set just on Friday. It last traded at 111.90 yen.
"As long as the dollar holds above 111-111.50 yen, I do not judge the (dollar`s rising) trend has changed," said Koichi Yoshikawa, executive director of financial markets at Standard Chartered in Tokyo.
The dollar`s index against a basket of six major currencies stood at 100.88, slipping 0.6% on day and off its 13 and-half-a-year high of 102.05 touched on Thursday.
The dollar shed more than 0.5% against many emerging market currencies, including the Mexico peso, the biggest loser after Trump`s election victory, the South African rand and the Turkish lira.
The euro gained 0.8% to $1.0655, extending its rebound from its near one-year low of $1.0518 touched on Thursday.
The single currency has so far shown limited reaction to the French conservatives` presidential primaries on Sunday.
Former Prime Minister Francois Fillon, a socially conservative free-marketer, won the run-off, setting up a likely showdown next year with far-right leader Marine Le Pen that the pollsters expect him to win.
Gold bounced back to $1,192.0 per ounce from Friday`s low $1,171.5, which was its lowest level since early February.
The yield on 10-year US Treasuries dropped almost 5 basis points to 2.323%, off its 16-month high of 2.417% touched on Thursday.
On the other hand, some commodities gained sharply on hopes of strong demand for property and infrastructure investment in China and the United States.
Chinese steel futures jumped over 6%, while iron ore futures also gained about 6% and zinc, used to galvanise steel, powered to a nine-year high on the London Metal Exchange.