- Chinese stock market trading was halted for the day again this week, as circuit breakers were triggered by falls of more than 7%. So far this year, the Chinese blue-chip CSI 300 index is down 12%. Today's fears were sparked by the fact that the People's Bank of China seems to have allowed the yuan currency to slide faster, with the mid-point exchange rate vs. the U.S. dollar set by the PBOC at its weakest level since March 2011.
- Fears reverberated across global stock markets. European stocks opened deeply in the red, with London's FTSE 100 down nearly 3%, Germany's DAX down by 3.8%, and France's CAC-40 falling by 3.3%.
- Crude oil hit fresh multi-year lows on worries that the rout in Chinese stock markets will weigh on demand for oil. U.S. light, sweet crude futures for delivery in February traded at $32.68 a barrel at 0145 ET, down $1.29 in the Globex electronic session. February Brent crude fell $1.40 to $32.83 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
- The U.K. pound, which has been sliding gently vs. the U.S. dollar for a while, hit a five-year low of $1.4544, with fears that the U.K. will end up leaving the European Union adding to general lack of confidence over the global business outlook.
- Volkswagen (VLKAY) is likely to buy back 115,000 cars in the U.S. because of the emissions scandal, according to a report in the German media quoted by Reuters. Germany's daily paper Sueddeutsche Zeitung wrote, without citing any sources, that the company expects it would have to either refund the purchase price of a fifth of the diesel vehicles affected or offer a new car at a significant discount.
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