LONDON (Reuters) – Asian and European share markets fell on Thursday, after the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest meeting minutes highlighted doubts about the recovery of the world’s largest economy and knocked Wall Street from recent record highs.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan had its biggest daily decline in five weeks while the MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 49 countries, was down 0.6% at 0738 GMT.
The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.9% and London’s FTSE 100 fell 0.8%.
The Fed’s minutes from its July meeting, which were released on Wednesday, highlighted doubts about the U.S. economic recovery, showing that the swift labour market rebound seen in May and June had likely slowed.
Several Fed policymakers said they may need to ease monetary policy to help get the economy through the coronavirus pandemic.
“Of course, the Fed agreed that the virus is weighing heavily on the economy: is that some kind of surprise? Apparently it was,” Rabobank’s global strategist Michael Every wrote in a note to clients.
Despite the dovish minutes, U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar rose with investors focusing on parts of the minutes that showed policymakers downplaying the need for yield caps and targets.
The dollar index, which measures the currency against a basket of major peers, was choppy overnight.
“The key question for investors is whether the policy responses are enough to mitigate the economic damage,” hedge fund firm Brevan Howard said in an interim report published on Thursday.
“Many businesses face solvency risks that are not addressed by borrowing; a debt overhang cannot be cured by more borrowing no matter how cheap it may be,” the fund’s report added.
“Improved financial conditions are narrowly focused on a handful of large companies and benefiting stakeholders who need relatively little economic assistance. The result is that financial assets are expensive by many standard metrics.
“So long as a V-shaped recovery in risky assets fails to create a V-shaped recovery in economic activity, this tension is a recipe for increased volatility.”
Spot gold rebounded overnight, after declining to a near one-week low on Wednesday, when markets were more bullish.
It was up 0.6% at 0748 GMT, at $1,940.4478 per ounce.
Oil prices fell, as major producers warned of a risk to demand recovery.
OPEC and its allies pressed oil nations that are pumping above output targets to cut more in August to September.
Brent crude was down 32 cents, or 0.7%, at $45.05 a barrel while U.S. oil was down 38 cents, or 0.9%, at $42.55 a barrel.
It will take at least two years for the euro zone to fully recover from its deepest recession on record, according to a Reuters poll of economists.
Minutes from the European Central Bank’s July meeting are due at 1130 GMT.
Germany’s benchmark 10-year Bund yield was at -0.473%, little changed after falling for the past four days in a row.
Markets also remained cautious about acrimonious U.S.-China relations.
China’s commerce ministry said the two countries have agreed to hold trade talks “in the coming days” to evaluate their Phase 1 trade deal struck six months ago.
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