North Korea standoff wipes $1trn off global stocks

13 Août, 2017, 13:39 | Author: Marc Bacque

The Nikkei slumped to its lowest close for nearly three months Wednesday, leading an Asia-wide sell-off sparked by President Donald Trump's apocalyptic warning over North Korea's weapons program.

FIRE AND FURY: Keeping up his tough talk, Trump told reporters that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's government should "get their act together" or face extraordinary trouble, and suggested his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea was too mild.

The so-called fear gauge - the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), the most widely followed barometer of expected USA stock market volatility, hit its highest since November 8, when Mr Trump was elected president.

Investors also drew some encouragement from new government data showing US inflation at the consumer level inched higher last month.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 share index closed down 1.3 percent at its lowest since June 1 as the strong yen hit exporters, while South Korea's KOSPI index fell 1.1 percent to seven-week lows.

The ongoing political crisis that has seen North Korea state it was seeking to strike the US Pacific island territory of Guam within days, prompted gold speculator Dennis Gartman, editor and publisher of The Gartman Letter to say he believed gold was on the cusp on a significant break out.

Dai-ichi Life Holdings dropped 1 percent, T&D Holdings fell 2.2 percent while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group declined 0.9 percent.

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Trump has stepped up warnings that Kim's regime would face a devastating military strike if it continued threatening the U.S. Professor Lucas said: "The Chinese and the USA have been talking behind the scenes for months about what to do".

Rising costs for housing, medical care and food helped push the Consumer Price Index (CPI) up 0.1 percent in July, seasonally adjusted, after no change in June and a 0.1 decrease in May, the US Labor Department said.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.2 percent, to 2,474.92.

Against the greenback, the Swiss franc eased about 0.1 percent to 0.9645 per dollar, having surged about 1.1 percent on Wednesday. The Nasdaq added 39.68 points, or 0.6 percent, to 6,256.56.

Nervous traders have scrambled to take refuge in traditional safe havens such as gold, silver, bonds, Japanese yen and Swiss franc, dampening interest in risk assets such as equities and industrial commodities.

US Treasury long-dated yields dropped to six-week lows, pressured by US-North Korea tensions and the weak data that further reduced expectations of an interest rate hike in December. Chinese blue chips are about flat but Hong Kong's Hang Seng index is down 0.3 percent.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 5/32 in price to yield 2.2255 per cent, from 2.242 per cent late on Wednesday. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.2 percent to 5,693.10.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 109.96 yen from 110.48 yen late Tuesday. The NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index plunged by 3.4% to its lowest closing level in well over a month. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, rose 20 cents to $52.10 a barrel in London. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.826 compared to yesterday's $1.1772.


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