In Asian Equity Markets indices retraced some losses on Wednesday after falling when reports said rockets were fired at an Iraqi airbase that hosts American troops. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 eased from earlier declines of more than 2% to trade down 1.33%. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is said to cancel a scheduled trip this weekend to the Middle East, according to a local broadcaster, Reuters reported. South Korea’s Kospi index was 0.83% after earlier falling more than 1.2%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.32% in the afternoon.
In Currency Markets the safe-haven Japanese yen jumped and gold shot higher on Wednesday after a rocket attack on a base hosting U.S. troops in Iraq renewed fears of a broader conflict breaking out in the Middle East and sent investors rushing to safety. Rockets were shot at multiple targets including Iraq’s al Asad airbase. The yen, regarded as a haven in times of turmoil by virtue of Japan’s status as the world’s biggest creditor, rose 0.6% to a three-month high of 107.74 yen per dollar.
In Commodities Markets oil prices jumped to their highest in months on Wednesday after Iran attacked American forces in Iraq in response to a U.S. strike that killed an Iranian general last week, raising the specter of a spiraling conflict and disrupted oil supplies. But prices cooled a fraction after the early heat as analysts said market tension could ease as long as oil production facilities remain unaffected by attacks. Brent crude futures rose $1.56, or 2.3%, to $69.83, after earlier rising to $71.75, the highest since mid-September 2019.
In US Equity Markets oil stocks shed the most on the S&P 500 on Tuesday, taking the benchmark index further away from record highs, as investors nervously awaited the latest in the U.S.-Iran standoff. A near 2% loss for oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp kept the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average also in the red, as oil prices surrendered some of the gains made in the last few days. The S&P 500 was down 0.22%, at 3,239.21 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.14%, at 9,084.56.
In Bond Markets prices on Japanese government bond futures jumped on Wednesday and yields fell across the curve after Iran launched missile attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, prompting investors to seek the safety of government debt. Benchmark 10-year JGB futures climbed 0.23 point to 152.37, with a trading volume of 18,357 lots. Earlier in the session, futures prices reached their highest since Dec. 10, 2019. The 10-year JGB yield fell 2 basis points to minus 0.030%.