Asia-Pacific markets mostly lower on Thursday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index led the losses regionally as it fell 1.35%, followed by the Japan’s Nikkei 225 index at 0.80% lower. In South Korea, the KOSPI declined 0.18%, and in India, the S&P BSE Sensex shed 0.07%. Chinese mainland shares also traded lower, with the Shanghai composite declined 0.18%.
The ASX 200 in Australia retraced early losses to trade up 0.10%, while the Singapore’s Straits Times index rose about 0.06%.
European stocks also expected to slightly open lower later today on inflation fears and supply chain concerns.
Oil prices skidded to a six-week low, under pressure on concern about an impending oversupply and the prospect of China, Japan, and the U.S. dipping into their fuel reserves.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration reportedly was asking major oil consumers China and Japan to consider a coordinated release of oil reserves, in efforts to push prices lower and help with economic recovery, according to media reports.
The IEA and OPEC meanwhile earlier this week also set a bearish tone in their monthly oil market reports. Both expect the market to move into surplus in the not too distant future. Although OPEC+ for now is maintaining an agreement to boost output by 400,000 bpd every month so as not to flood the market with supply.
The release of the weekly U.S. EIA report showing a large fall in inventories did little to stop the selling. U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 2.1 million barrels last week, government data showed, running against analyst expectations for a build of 1.4 million barrels.
The Brent now traded at $79.83 per barrel, and U.S. crude futures traded at $77.55 per barrel.
In previous session, both contracts declined almost 3%, with the Brent ends at $80.28 a barrel, and the WTI settled at $78.36 per barrel.
The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields were modestly lower on Thursday, at 1.592% after retreated from a three-week high hit in the previous session.
The dollar index also takes breather from rally, pulling away from a 16-month peak scaled on Wednesday. It was last at 95.759.
Elsewhere, commodity currencies mostly edged lower, undermined by a slide in oil and other commodity prices.
Bitcoin and ether stayed weak on Thursday. Bitcoin last traded around $59,947, up 1.4% on the day, but is down about 12% from the record high of $69,000 set on Nov 10, while ether was at $4,286, around 14% lower than its peak of $4,865.
Spot gold slipped slightly, down 0.07% to $1,865.90 per ounce, after hitting a five-month peak on Wednesday. U.S. gold futures shed 0.12% to $1,868.00.
Spot silver was down 0.40% to $25.07 per ounce, and platinum slipped 0.3% to $1,066.00. Palladium rose 0.66% to $2,199.00.
Stock markets slipped on Thursday amid concerns over inflationary pressure that may not be transitionary, and the interest rate hike may come sooner than expected. Investors remain cautious over the near term while awaiting more corporate earnings reports, as well as further guidance from the U.S. Federal Reserve on its monetary policy going forward.
The energy sector also remained under pressure amid a sell-off in crude futures. Growing concerns about oversupply and a recovery in the oil demand weighed on prices.
Retailers due for earnings releases on Thursday including Alibaba, JD.com, Macy's, Kohl's, Ross Stores, and Williams-Sonoma.