Oil falls further downhill

Oil prices, which have dominated headlines this week , fell further in Asian trading on Friday. Brent Crude was down 0.7 per cent to $39.46 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate was down 0.8 per cent to $36.46.

Brent, the industry benchmark, and US marker West Texas Intermediate breached the $40 a barrel mark on Tuesday for the first time since 2009, spurred by OPEC’s failure last week to agree on which producers should bear the brunt of output cuts to shore up prices.

In other commodities, gold was down 0.4 per cent to $1066.99 an ounce.

In currencies, the yen rose as much as 0.5 per cent to 122.16 against the US dollar and the Aussie dollar was flat, trading at 0.7256 against the greenback.

Markets across Asia Pacific were heading lower in the final session of the week, amid falling oil prices and a weak overnight lead from Wall Street.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.6 per cent, while in mainland China the Shanghai Composite was down 0.7 per cent and the Shenzhen Composite was down 0.4 per cent.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.2 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei 225 was up 1 per cent.

The benchmark S&P 500 ended the day up 0.2 per cent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day up 0.5 per cent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq index ended up 0.4 per cent.

Looking ahead, the European session is expected to be as the economic calendar is light. The US set to release retail sales data later as well as the University of Michigan preliminary consumer sentiment report.

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