Asian share markets slipped, while the euro hit a nine-year trough on Wednesday as collapsing oil prices and worries about the world economy drove skittish investors into the arms of safe havens such as the yen and sovereign debt.
From Japan to Germany to Australia, government borrowing costs reached all-time lows as oil fell 10 per cent in just two days and investors wrestled with the risk of global deflation. Data from the euro zone due later on Wednesday is expected to show the first annual fall in consumer prices since 2009, piling pressure on the European Central Bank to launch all-out quantitative easing at its next policy meeting on January 22.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.3 per cent, while Australian stocks fell a further 0.7 per cent. On Wall Street, the three major stock indexes fell for a fifth straight session. For the S&P 500 it was the longest losing streak since late 2013.
The Dow shed 0.75 per cent, the S&P 500 0.9 per cent and the Nasdaq 1.29 per cent.