Wednesday, 24 February. The pound has continued its fall against the US dollar to hit fresh 7-year lows. Fears that the UK could vote to leave the European Union has lead to the pound falling over recent days and during Asia trading this morning, the pound fell to below $1.40. The pound continued to fall by as much as 1% during European trading, and analysts at HSBC have published a note stating the pound could fall a further 15-20% lower against the dollar should a “Brexit” vote go ahead. What is known as a “safe haven” in times of turmoil, the Japanese yen has gained further strength against the US dollar, trading at ¥111.8 per dollar. Gold, another of the “safe haven” assets available to investors was up +1.5% at the time of writing. The commodity is up just shy of +16% year-to-date.
After European markets had closed last night, the Saudi Arabia oil minister told oil executives that the agreement by four major oil producers to freeze output at January levels is not an indicator that production cuts are to come. Iran are unlikely to agree to an output cap as they have only just had sanctions lifted, so they are, as such, playing catch up to the rest of the oil producers.
As Brent oil fell more than 2% over the course of the day, miners drove the FTSE 100 lower. The index fell by more than 1.5% during morning trading, with Anglo American, BHP and Glencore leading the losses. BHP yesterday announced a first half loss, and a 75% cut in its dividend, the latter of which drove the share price lower by 6% yesterday. The shares are down a further 8% today, closing trading -8.35%. Anglo American and Glencore both ended the day with c.10% declines. At the time of writing Brent oil has pared back some of its losses to be +2.1% at $33.90 pbl.
At the close European indices were down with the FTSE 100 -1.6%, the CAC 40 -2.2%, and the DAX -2.6%.