Crude futures inched down on Wednesday as the International Energy Agency suggested a prolonged battle between the U.S. and OPEC for global market share has yet to reach its tipping point. On the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Brent crude for July delivery ticked down 0.16, or 0.23%, to 67.22 a barrel. Brent futures have closed over $65 a barrel for the last dozen trading sessions, dating back to April 27. Crude prices usually rise when the euro strengthens against the dollar.
The poor economic indications on Wednesday weighed heavily on the dollar. The U.S. Dollar Index, which measures the strength of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, fell more than 1%, to an intra-day low of 93.51 – the lowest level since early-February. By comparison, the index moved above 100 on six consecutive sessions in mid-March and reached as high as 100.27 on April 13. EUR/USD soared more than 1.3%, to 1.1362, its highest level in a week. All eyes are on the today’s session data release on the US unemployment claims.
Japan's Nikkei eased 0.4 percent early Thursday, as did Australian stocks. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was virtually flat. On Wall Street, the Dow ended Wednesday down 0.04 percent, while the S&P 500 lost 0.03 percent and the Nasdaq added 0.11 percent.
Core retail sales in New Zealand rose more-than-expected last month, official data showed on Wednesday. In a report, Statistics New Zealand said that N.Z. core retail sales rose to a seasonally adjusted 2.9%, up from 1.9% in the preceding month, whose figure was revised up from 1.5%. A star performer was the New Zealand dollar which flew higher after domestic data on retail sales blew away all expectations with a record rise of 2.7 percent. The kiwi was up at $0.7552, a dramatic turnaround from a two-month trough of $0.7318 hit earlier in the week.