SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Oil prices surged while global stock markets traded mixed on Wednesday after President Donald Trump announced the United States will withdraw from a 2015 nuclear accord with Iran and re-impose sanctions.
KEEPING SCORE: European stocks were moderately higher with Britain’s FTSE 100 up 0.6 percent to 7,610.13. France’s CAC 40 added 0.1 percent to 5,525.94 and Germany’s DAX gained 0.4 percent to 12,959.11. Futures augured gains on Wall Street with Dow futures up 0.5 percent and S&P futures also rising 0.5 percent.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 0.4 percent to 22,408.88 and South Korea’s Kospi retreated 0.2 percent to 2,443.98. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 0.4 percent to 30,536.14 while the Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.1 percent to 3,159.15. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent to 6,108.00. Stocks rose in Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia but fell in Thailand and the Philippines.
IRAN DEAL: The U.S. decision to leave the Iran nuclear deal, which required Iran to curb its nuclear enrichment program in exchange for relief from international sanctions, will be followed by a restoration of harsh sanctions aimed at limiting Iran’s ability to sell oil or conduct other overseas business. Now Iran, the world’s fifth-largest oil producer, will have to decide whether to follow the U.S. and withdraw or try to salvage what’s left with the European countries. Should supply constraints push oil prices higher, Asia would see a mixed impact. Costs would rise for countries that rely heavily on imports, such as Japan, while exporters like Indonesia would see revenues rise.
ANALYST’S TAKE: “Geopolitical risks are heightened especially if Iran retaliates, but it could wait and see if the deal is completely undone or if there is scope for it to continue without the U.S.,” Mizuho Bank said in a daily commentary. With Germany, France and Britain saying they are committed to the accord, the European countries will “continue importing oil from Iran, albeit having to side-step the U.S. banking system for trade purposes,” it said.
OIL: Prices of oil fell sharply before Trump’s announcement but rebounded, with benchmark U.S. crude oil jumping $1.97, or 2.9 percent, to $71.02 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.67, or 2.4 percent, to $69.06 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, gained $2.04, or 2.7 percent, to $76.89 per barrel in London. It lost $1.32, or 1.7 percent, to close at $74.85 per barrel on Tuesday.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 109.77 yen from 109.13 yen while the euro fell to $1.1860 from $1.1864.
– Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Wednesday, May 9:
1. Oil Prices Shoot Higher
Oil prices rose around 3% to hit fresh three-and-a-half-year highs after U.S. President Donald Trump walked away from an international nuclear deal with Iran, raising the risk of conflict in the Middle East and casting uncertainty over global oil supplies.
Brent crude futures at one point touched their highest since November 2014 at $77.20 per barrel. It was last at $76.95, up $2.11, or 2.8%.
Meanwhile, New York-traded WTI crude futures surged $2.00, or 2.9%, to $71.06 a barrel, after reaching $71.17 earlier in the session, also highs last seen in late 2014.
In a televised speech Tuesday, Trump said the United States would withdraw from a 2015 international agreement designed to deny Tehran the ability to build nuclear weapons, and also reimpose “the highest level of economic sanctions” against Iran.
Some analysts have said the reinstatement of sanctions could lead to tighter global oil supplies as they make it more difficult for Iran to export oil.
Iran, which is a major Middle East oil producer and member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), resumed its role as a major oil exporter in January 2016 when international sanctions against Tehran were lifted in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.
2. Weekly EIA Supply Figures Ahead
Besides Iran, oil market players looked ahead to fresh weekly data on U.S. commercial crude inventories to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer and how fast output levels will continue to rise.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its official weekly oil supplies report for the week ended May 4 at 10:30AM ET (1430GMT), amid forecasts for an oil-stock drop of 719,000 barrels.
After markets closed Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute said that U.S. oil inventories fell by nearly 1.9 million barrels last week. The API data also showed a decline of about 2.1 million barrels in gasoline stockpiles, while inventories of distillates dropped by 6.7 million barrels.
There are often sharp divergences between the API estimates and the official figures from EIA.
3. U.S. Stock Futures Point To Upbeat Open
U.S. stock futures pointed to an upbeat open, as investors continued to assess the implications of President Donald Trump walking away from the Iran nuclear deal.
The blue-chip Dow futures rose 135 points, or about 0.6%, the S&P 500 futures tacked on 13 points, or around 0.5%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a gain of 26 points, or roughly 0.4%.
On the earnings calendar, notable results expected out Wednesday include Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOX), Mylan (NASDAQ:MYL), Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN), Office Depot (NASDAQ:ODP), Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU), and IAC/InterActive (NASDAQ:IAC).
Elsewhere, in Europe, the continent’s major bourses were slightly higher, supported by strength in energy stocks.
Earlier, in Asia, markets in the region closed mixed, following an uninspiring overnight lead from Wall Street.
4. Dollar Rally Rolls On As Yields Climb Back Above 3%
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, rose to a session peak of 93.26 at one point, the most since December 19. It was last at 93.01, up around 0.1%.
Meanwhile, the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes rose above the psychologically important 3%-level to hit 3.014%, the highest level in two weeks.
The recent bounce in the dollar and yields came as strengthening inflation prospects added to expectations of a more hawkish approach from the Federal Reserve this year.
5. Inflation Data, Weekly Oil Supply Figures In Focus
Wednesday’s calendar features top-tier U.S. data on inflation. The Commerce Department will publish producer price inflation figures for April at 8:30AM ET (1230GMT).
Consumer inflation data is released Thursday.
Rising inflation would be a catalyst to push the Federal Reserve toward raising interest rates at a faster pace than currently expected.