In Asian Equity Markets stocks were down early on Tuesday as growing fears the spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus would harm the global economic recovery sent riskier assets, including oil, skidding sharply. MSCI’s gauge of Asia Pacific stocks outside Japan fell as much as 0.29 percent, with Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 down 0.39 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 hit a six-month low in early trade and widened the losses to 1.05 percent. The Hang Seng Index opened 0.3 percent lower and China’s benchmark CSI300 Index slid 0.7 percent at the start.
In Currency Markets safe-harbour currencies like the Japanese yen and U.S. dollar held near multi-month highs against the riskier Australian dollar and British pound on Tuesday, as fears grow that a rampant coronavirus variant could upend the global economic recovery. The euro underperformed the dollar, falling overnight at $1.1764 before last trading at $1.17965. The dollar strengthened to an almost eight-month high of $0.73225 per Aussie to start the trading week, and hit the highest since early February at $1.3655 to sterling. It last stood at $0.73390 per Aussie and $1.36685 versus the pound.
In US Equity Markets a rise in Delta variant infections sparked a broad sell-off on Wall Street on Monday as investors feared renewed COVID-19 shutdowns and a protracted economic recovery. The Dow fell 2.09 percent, to 33,962.04, the S&P 500 lost 1.59 percent, to 4,258.49 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.06 percent, to 14,274.98. Energy shares, weighed down by plunging crude prices, fell 3.6 percent, their worst day since March. Travel and leisure stocks decreased, with the S&P 1500 Airline index shedding 3.8 percent and the S&P 1500 Hotel and Restaurant index off 2.7 percent.
In Commodities Markets oil lost $5 a barrel on Monday, closing out its worst day since March, after an OPEC+ agreement to boost output stoked fears of a surplus just as rising COVID-19 infections once again threaten demand. Brent crude settled at $68.62 a barrel, losing 6.8 percent. U.S. oil futures for August delivery, which expires on Tuesday, settled at $66.42, down 7.5 percent. Spot gold fell 0.5 percent to $1,802.26 per ounce. Elsewhere, silver lost 2 percent to $25.15 per ounce, platinum fell 2.8 percent to $1,071.21, and palladium fell 1.9 percent to $2,579.20.
In European Equity Markets stocks fell more than 2 percent on Monday, their worst session in nine months on worries that the fast-spreading Delta coronavirus variant could slow the global economic recovery. Extending losses from last week, the pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 2.3 percent, with all sectors in the red. The German DAX fell 2.6 percent, while Italy’s MIB lost 3.3 percent, its steepest one-day decrease since October. UK’s FTSE 100 fell 2.3 percent as rising coronavirus cases overshadowed optimism about England’s reopening of the economy.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury bond yields fell to five-month lows on Monday as the rapid increase in new coronavirus cases sparked fears global growth would slow and hamper the reopening of economies. The yield on benchmark 10-year notes fell 12.2 basis points to 1.177 percent, close to the session’s low of 1.176 percent, a level last seen in February. Yields on the 30-year Treasury bond slid 11.8 basis points to 1.812 percent as stock markets worldwide fell while the safe-haven dollar and Swiss franc rose in a flight to safety.