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- Asia markets traded mixed Monday morning as energy stocks declined after oil prices fell to their lowest levels in more than a year last week.
- Oil prices remained weak on Monday morning after they plunged to their lowest levels in more than a year on Friday.
- European Union leaders gave their official endorsement of U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal on Sunday during a gathering in Brussels.
Asia markets traded mixed Monday morning as energy stocks declined after oil prices fell to their lowest levels in more than a year last week.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.16 percent in early trade while the Topix index was down 0.12 percent. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.32 percent.
Over in Australia, the benchmark ASX 200 fell 0.62 percent in morning trade, with the energy subindex down 2.06 percent and the materials sector off by 1.96 percent.
*Oil prices remain feeble after Friday loss*
Oil prices plunged to their lowest levels in more than a year on Friday, deepening a rapid seven-week-sell-off that has plunged crude futures deep into a bear market amid growing worries of an oversupply.
U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude ended Friday’s session down $4.21, or 7.7 percent, at $50.42. WTI hit its weakest price since mid-October 2017 on Friday.
International benchmark Brent crude dropped $3.66, or 5.9 percent, to $58.94 by 1:34 p.m. ET. The contract hit its lowest level since late October 2017.
Friday’s declines further ramp up the pressure on OPEC ahead of a much-anticipated meeting between the influential oil cartel and its allies in Vienna on Dec. 6, when they are expected to announce that output will be curtailed.
On Monday morning during Asian hours, U.S. crude futures gained 0.46 percent at $50.65 per barrel while Brent was up 0.83 percent at $59.29 per barrel.
*EU leaders back Brexit deal*
European Union leaders gave their official endorsement of U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal on Sunday during a gathering in Brussels.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker reiterated his sadness at the U.K.’s departure, telling reporters in the Belgian capital that it was a “tragedy.” But he backed May’s plan and said it was the best deal possible for Britain.
But the EU’s acceptance of the deal has enraged some pro-Brexit politicians in the U.K. who believe that May is making too many concessions to the EU. May faces a tough challenge next month when she needs to gain Parliamentary approval for the deal in Westminster. The vote — likely to be on December 11 — is crucial for May to move forward with Brexit and failure could lead to her being toppled as leader or even the U.K. crashing out of the EU without a deal.
The British pound traded at $1.2813 on Monday morning.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.919 after rallying from the 96.43 handle in the previous session.
The Japanese yen was at 112.92 against the dollar after strengthening from levels around 113 last Friday. The Australian dollar traded at $0.7234 after declining from the $0.725 handle in the previous session.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) set the yuan reference rate at 6.9453 vs Friday’s fix of 6.9306.