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Markets slide, dollar slumps as North Korea fears spike

12 August 2017

The yen also advanced further after a brief pull-back overnight.

Sterling touched a three-week low against the dollar as mixed output and trade data did little to alter investors' downbeat view of an economy struggling to meet Bank of England targets.

The Korean won continued to fall versus the dollar, down 0.13 per cent to 1,143.5 on Friday for a 1.6 per cent decline on the week.

Shire fell 1.1%, as the pharmaceutical firm shares were hit by a downgrade to Equal Weight from Overweight by Barclays. It since drifted back towards the $1.17 level before being pushed up by weak USA data.

On the currency markets, sterling rose 0.2% to flit around the 1.30 United States dollar mark, with the greenback falling in response to the latest USA inflation data. The benchmark SET index started the day on a sour note, and the intensified sell-off sent the main bourse to the day's trough of 1,556.22 points before bargain-hunting pared losses.

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The US producer prices data was slightly below consensus forecasts with both headline and core prices declining 0.1% on the month. On an annual basis, output rose by 0.3%, up from -0.2% in May. Major indexes in Asia closed lower.

Platinum climbed 0.2 percent to $978.00 per ounce after touching $984.60 during the session, its highest since April 18.

Thursday's selling in the USA extended to global markets Friday.

The tentative gains "suggest that the headline shock value pertaining to the US-North Korea standoff is starting to dissipate, which is to say actual action will now speak much louder than words", said analyst Patrick O'Hare.

In Europe, the pan-continental STOXX 600 index fell 0.9 per cent, with falls deepening after a auto rammed a group of soldiers in Paris, injuring six, in what officials said was a suspected terrorist attack. Economists had expected another 0.1% uptick.

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The report said initial jobless claims crept up to 244,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week's revised level of 241,000. Expectations were for 240k and compares with a revised 241k in the prior week.

In currencies, the yen strengthened 0.64 percent versus the greenback at 109.37 per dollar. The dollar index was modestly up during Asian trading to last trade at 93.48, linked to the weaker euro.

Charter Communications rose 2.9 per cent on news Altice is exploring a bid for the cable giant.

In commodities, oil prices slid on doubts over whether OPEC production cuts are draining a global supply glut.

But the yen added to an already-strong weekly rally of close to 1.5 percent, hitting its highest in nearly four months versus the dollar at 108.73 yen.

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The dollar index .dxy , which measures the US currency against a basket of other major currencies, fell 0.14 percent. USA stocks opened higher on Friday after suffering their worst single-day losses since mid-May on Thursday.

The Australian dollar has weakened against its USA counterpart during the Asian session, though the aussie managed to soften its losses by firming up in late Asian trading. This strengthened the yen to almost below ¥109 per dollar, while the euro moved back above $1.18. "That did temporarily shake investors' complacency, but we think markets are ready to move higher in the back half of the year, and earnings and economic data are going to drive that".

Markets slide, dollar slumps as North Korea fears spike