A man walks past an electronic board showing Japan’s Nikkei average (top of upper right screen) and the Japanese yen’s exchange rate against against the U.S. dollar outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, December 4, 2015. Reuters/Toru Hanai
Asian shares were set for sizable weekly losses, with equities faltering again on Friday as plunging crude oil prices and a tumble in China’s yuan to almost 4-1/2-year lows added to worries about receding global growth.
A supply glut in oil markets and cooling growth in China, the world’s biggest commodities consumer, have pressured many asset markets ahead of a widely expected hike to U.S. interest rates by the Federal Reserve next week.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS erased early modest gains and was down about 0.6 percent, facing a nearly 3 percent weekly loss.
The gloom was expected to carry into European trading, with financial spreadbetters predicting Britain’s FTSE 100 .FTSE would open down by as much as 0.3 percent. Germany’s DAX .GDAXI was seen as much as 0.1 percent lower, while France’s CAC .FCHI expected to shed up to 0.3 percent.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) set its guidance rate at the weakest level in more than four years on Friday, a sign Beijing is permitting the currency to depreciate after it was included in the International Monetary Fund’s reserve basket.
The lower fixings have also raised questions about how far the central bank intends to let it depreciate.