The Australian market plunged on opening, following Wall Street’s losses on the back of another steep fall in oil prices.
The S&P/ASX 500 closed down 1.64% after OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) lowered its projection for oil demand in 2015.
The price of oil has been sliding since June when Brent crude was $US115 a barrel. Today it’s $US66.
On the Australian market, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.2% with stocks down across the board. The banks, miners and energy stocks were all weaker.
But by mid session the Australia market had staged a recovery, clawing back half the losses.
The banks were all still weaker, led by Westpac which was down 0.65% to $32.31.
Among the miners, BHP was down 1.26% to $29.02 and Rio Tinto 1.74% to $55.43.
Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, described dark clouds hang over Asia Pacific share markets this morning after a wild and stormy night’s trading.
“While the triggers for selling are evident, the market logic is not,” he says. “Lower energy prices are a rational market positive, but mounting dismay at the lack of a Santa Claus rally has investors hitting the panic button. Fears about global growth prospects are weighing. Over the past week, strong US performances have offset weakness in Asia and Europe. An American capitulation overnight means bulls have nothing to lean on, and a rout in Asia Pacific shares is on the cards.”