Shares in the Asia-Pacific region were higher on Friday as investors weigh recession fears. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 1.45%, the mainland Shanghai Composite gained 0.44%, the Nikkei 225 advanced 1.07%, and the South Korea’s KOSPI gained 1.75%. The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia rose 0.30%. The New Zealand market is closed for a holiday on Friday.
Oil prices traded sideways after rising earlier today, as the market seek to balance fears of slower demand with supply uncertainty.
Brent crude futures now trading up 10 cents, or 0.84%, at $110.75 a barrel, while U.S. WTI crude futures were 0.97%, at $105.04 a barrel. Prices fell around 1.5% in the previous session.
OPEC+ will likely stick to a plan for accelerated output increases in August in hopes of easing crude prices and inflation as US President Joe Biden plans to visit Saudi Arabia. The group agreed in its last meeting on June 2 to boost output by 648,000 barrels a day in July, or 7% of global demand, and by the same amount in August, up from the initial plan to add 432,000 bpd a month over three months until September.
However, the group has struggled to hit the monthly increase targets due to underinvestment in oilfields by some OPEC members and, more recently, losses in Russian output.
Official weekly estimates for US oil inventories were scheduled to be released on Thursday but technical problems will delay those figures until next week, the US Energy Information Administration said, without giving a specific timeline. Each week, oil traders and market observers around the world watch for the release of the EIA’s weekly publication, routinely on a Wednesday. The report covers everything from crude oil and gasoline to natural gas liquids.
The U.S. dollar slipped against its major peers on Friday, on course for its first weekly decline this month. The dollar has been choppy this week, with markets now betting on more cautious policy action from the Fed after another expected 75 basis point rate increase in July.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six rivals, edged down 0.18% to 104.216.
The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields firmed on Friday, to 3.104%. It slides to a two-week low overnight, retreating from 3.498% on June 14, the highest since April 2011. Recession fears have tamed Treasury yields, suppressing a key support for the dollar.
Gold prices were flat on Friday but on course for their second straight weekly decline, with worries over major central banks potentially implementing big interest rate hikes to target runaway inflation weighing on bullion demand.
Spot gold was last up 0.12% to $1,824.50 per ounce after hitting a one-week low of $1,820.99 earlier in the session. U.S. gold futures fell 0.22% to $1,825.70. Gold prices have dropped about 0.9% this week.
Spot silver firmed 0.4% to $21.02 per ounce and platinum rose 0.9% to $915.11, but both were set for weekly losses. Palladium climbed 1.4% to $1,870.29 and has gained about 3% this week.
Stocks and bonds were both headed for their first weekly gain in a month on Friday as investors wagered on central banks bringing inflation to heel.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell, in his second day of Congressional testimony, stressed the central bank's "unconditional" commitment to taming inflation, even amid risks to growth and may push up unemployment.
Growth fears continue to drag on commodities. Precious metal, agriculture and oil prices slid to end the week lower. Germany triggered the "alarm stage" of its emergency gas plan on Thursday in response to falling Russian supplies.
In economic data, Core consumer prices in Japan rose 2.1% for the month of May compared to a year earlier, above the BoJ’s target of 2% inflation.
Meanwhile gauges of factory activity released on Thursday in Japan, Britain, the eurozone and U.S. all softened in June, with U.S. producers reporting the first outright drop in new orders in two years. Manufacturing growth is slowing worldwide partly because China's COVID-19 curbs and Russia's invasion of Ukraine have disrupted supply chains and added to inflation problems.