Euro Slumps Against the Dollar; Weak Eurozone Growth By Investing.com


© Reuters.

By Peter Nurse

Investing.com – The U.S. dollar remains in demand, and it’s the beleaguered euro which is taking a lot of the associated beating Friday as investors fret about low growth in the single currency region.

The dollar was also underpinned by the announcement of the New York Federal Reserve on Thursday that it will cut the volume of its open market operations slightly ahead of schedule, tightening liquidity in U.S. funding markets.

At 03:00 ET (0800 GMT), traded at 1.0842, having fallen as low as 1.0828 overnight, the lowest level since April 2017. The , which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, stood at 98.957, again just off heights not seen for over two years. traded at 1.3058, trading in relatively quiet waters.

Thursday’s GDP figures for Germany, the eurozone’s largest economy, showed that growth stagnated at the end of 2019, leaving the economy in a weakened state even before the emergence of the new coronavirus threat.

December saw the biggest drop in German industrial production since the global financial crisis a decade ago.

Adding to these weak figures, the European Commission’s gloomy outlook for the European economy did nothing to help lift sentiment surrounding the euro, analysts at Danske Bank said, in a research note.

“Although the EC still sees the euro area on a ‘path of steady and moderate growth’ with GDP expanding by 1.2% in 2020, the report stressed that risks to the growth outlook remain tilted to the downside, not least with the coronavirus outbreak as a key new downside risk emerging,” Danske Bank said.

The Danish bank has recently lowered its euro area GDP growth forecast to 0.8% for 2020, from 0.9%.

The latest growth figures for the euro zone as a whole are scheduled for release at 5:00 AM ET (1000 GMT), and are expected to show growth of 0.1% on the quarter, 1.0% on the year. The risk is for a downside surprise, after the German release.

Contrast this state of affairs with the economic outlook in the U.S., and there’s no surprise the single currency is feeling the pinch. The latest U.S. employment numbers are strong, annual GDP growth was 2% last year, and the Federal Reserve felt confident enough about the banking sector to shrink repo operations further.

“Our baseline is now for a continued relative underperformance of European financial assets relative to USD denominated assets,” added Danske Bank. “Hence, we have revised our profile materially, to 1.07 on 12M, down from 1.15 previously.”

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Euro-Area Industrial Output Slumps Most in Almost Four Years By Bloomberg


© Reuters. Euro-Area Industrial Output Slumps Most in Almost Four Years

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A deep slump in euro-area industrial output at the end of last year highlights the scale of the challenge the sector will face in 2020.

The drop — the steepest in almost four years — will raise doubts about a meaningful rebound in momentum. The economy barely expanded in the fourth quarter and the outlook at the start of the year has been dented by the coronavirus.

While some risks to the outlook diminished after the U.S. and China agreed a trade deal and the U.K. left the European Union without much disruption, the virus outbreak that started in China has pushed the world into a new crisis. Companies have shut factories, and warned of disruption to supply chains and a hit to their profits.

The European Central Bank is on high alert. Chief Economist Philip Lane has suggested there could be significant short-term effects for the economy, and President Christine Lagarde said policy makers are closely watching for any broader economic impact.

Some of the slump in industrial production in December could be due to temporary factors. France was hit by strikes and protests that months, while Germany’s plunge is partly linked to the impact of the holidays on construction.

Even though their next monetary-policy meeting is not for another four weeks, speculation has started that the Governing Council may at least consider easing policy to stimulate the economy. Even before the outbreak, the euro region was expected to only grow a meager 1.1% this year. The ECB will update that projection in March.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Pound Slumps Before Start of Tough Brexit Trading Negotiations By Bloomberg



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The pound is back in the doldrums as concerns about a chaotic Brexit at the end of the year loom into view.

Sterling fell the most in a month, leading losses among Group-of-10 currencies, as traders brace for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to threaten to walk away from talks with the European Union rather than accept demands from Brussels to sign up to the bloc’s single market regulations. The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier is also due to set out his planned position on Monday.

The drop marks a turnaround from the U.K.’s formal exit of the EU on Friday, when the currency achieved its best week since mid-December after the Bank of England helped support the currency Thursday by keeping interest rates unchanged. While the U.K. is now in a transitional phase without rule changes, it could still be heading for an economically messy divorce if a trade agreement can’t be reached by the end of 2020.

“The U.K. government wants to pursue a harder Brexit trading relationship to allow more room for policy divergence with the EU which is seen as one of the key benefits of Brexit,” said Lee Hardman, a foreign-exchange strategist at MUFG Bank Ltd. “It continues to pose downside risks for the pound in the year ahead.”

The fell 0.8% to $1.3100 by 9:40 a.m., after gaining 1% last week. It dropped 0.6% to 84.48 pence per .

Sterling’s rally on Friday came on the back of month-end flows that pressured the dollar across the board and may have exaggerated a sense of buoyancy for the U.K. currency. Options market gauges were relatively steady, with bets on pound gains in the short and medium-term still in demand.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Yen jumps, yuan slumps on worries China struggling to contain virus By Reuters



By Stanley White

TOKYO (Reuters) – The yen rose and the yuan fell in offshore trade on Monday as worries that China is struggling to contain the spread of a pneumonia-like virus sparked a bout of risk aversion.

Japan’s currency, often sought as a safe-haven in times of uncertainty, rose to the highest in almost three weeks versus the dollar, while the yuan fell to its lowest since Jan. 8.

China’s cabinet announced it will extend the Lunar New Year holidays to Feb. 2, to strengthen the prevention and control of the new coronavirus, state broadcaster CCTV reported early on Monday. The holidays had been due to end on Jan. 30.

Hong Kong has also banned the entry of visitors from China’s Hubei province, where the new coronavirus outbreak was first reported, highlighting the difficulty officials face during a peak travel season.

Health authorities around the world are racing to prevent a pandemic of the virus, which has infected more than 2,000 people in China and killed 76.

There are concerns that tourism and consumer spending could take a hit if the virus spreads further, which would discourage investors from taking on excessive risk.

“There is a lot of uncertainty about how much further the virus will spread, and this is behind the moves in currencies,” said Yukio Ishizuki, foreign exchange strategist at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo.

“I thought dollar/yen would be supported at 109, but it broke through that, so now the next target is 108.50. This risk-off mood is likely to continue for a while.”

The yen rose 0.3% to 108.91 per dollar on Monday, reaching its strongest level since Jan. 8.

Japan’s currency also jumped around 0.5% versus the Australian () and New Zealand dollars () as worries about the virus drew traders toward safe-haven currencies and away from currencies that are more sensitive to risk.

In the offshore market, the yuan fell more than 0.3% to 6.9625 against the dollar, its weakest since Jan 8.

The () against a basket of six major currencies was little changed at 97.884.

Traders said market moves could be exaggerated due to low liquidity, because financial markets in China, Hong Kong, and Australia are closed for holidays.

The virus, which emerged late last year from illegally traded wildlife at an animal market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, has spread to other countries, including Singapore, South Korea, Canada, Japan, and the United States.

China’s Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, said on Monday that 76 people have died and 1,423 new cases of the coronavirus outbreak have been identified as of end of Sunday.

The outbreak has evoked memories of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003, another coronavirus which broke out in China and killed nearly 800 people in a global pandemic.





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‘Nothing Special’ — Bitcoin Slumps 6% on Coronavirus, Chinese New Year By Cointelegraph



(BTC) has shed 6% in a week thanks mainly to Chinese New Year and uncertainty over coronavirus, commentators are suggesting.

Analyzing Bitcoin price data along with Chinese stocks’ performance on Jan. 24, social media resource Light said a slump in performance had spread to cryptocurrency.

Continue Reading on Coin Telegraph

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Volatility in Currencies Worldwide Slumps to Lowest Level Ever By Bloomberg


Volatility in Currencies Worldwide Slumps to Lowest Level Ever

(Bloomberg) — Stocks may be grabbing most of the headlines, but equities aren’t the only asset class in uncharted territory.

Global currency volatility has dropped to the lowest level ever recorded. Less than 48 hours after the U.S. and China put pen to paper on a trade deal that reaffirmed an agreement not to devalue their currencies, the JPMorgan (NYSE:) Global FX Volatility Index — which tracks the options market to measure expected price swings — is trading lower than at any point since it was created almost three decades ago.

The milestone is a culmination of a multi-year trend toward calmer currency markets, one which accelerated last year as central banks shifted to easier monetary policies in a bid to shore up growth. It’s also a phenomenon on display across major asset classes, where the resultant abundant liquidity has stoked valuations and suppressed price swings.

“The signing of the phase one trade deal has led investors to assume that a negative threat to global growth has been removed,” said Jane Foley, head of FX strategy at Rabobank. The risk of such unprecedented low volatility “is that investors start to behave as if high-risk assets such as stocks can never go down. This would be classic bubble behavior,” she said.

The impact of the trade-deal signing on currency markets is clearly on show in the implied volatility of the dollar-yuan currency pair: In the offshore market it’s near the lowest since China’s surprise devaluation in 2015. The day of the signing also saw the JPMorgan G7 Volatility Index close at its record low.

Currency calm can be a good sign for many market players and economy watchers — foreign-exchange turmoil often coincides with stress between nations, unstable monetary trajectories or diverging growth. But there is such a thing as too much calm, according to Ulrich Leuchtmann, head of currency strategy at Commerzbank AG (DE:).

“FX markets have to produce at least so much volatility that shifts in fundamentals can be properly reflected,” he said. “My gut feeling is we are at the lower end of what’s possible before the FX market loses its ability to reflect fundamentals.”

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Wells Fargo quarterly profit slumps as legal costs mount By Reuters


© Reuters. A Wells Fargo logo is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto

(Reuters) – Wells Fargo & Co (N:) reported a 55% slump in fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday, as the fallout from a sales scandal that erupted in 2016 drove the bank to set aside another $1.5 billion toward legal expenses.

Shares of the bank fell about 3% to $50.50 in premarket trading.

The lender is operating under heavy regulatory scrutiny, including an unprecedented cap on its balance sheet by the Federal Reserve, as it tries to rebuild its reputation since it was revealed that the bank had opened potentially millions of bogus accounts.

Since then, the fourth-largest U.S. bank by assets has paid billions of dollars in fines and penalties.

San Francisco-based Wells last year appointed Charles Scharf, a one-time Jamie Dimon protégé, as its new chief executive officer, to help it rebuild its reputation with customers, investors and regulators.

“Wells Fargo is a wonderful and important franchise that has made some serious mistakes, and my mandate is to make the fundamental changes necessary to regain the full trust and respect of all stakeholders,” Scharf said in a statement.

“Our cost structure is too high, and I believe there are many areas where we will be able to increase our rate of growth,” he added.

Net income applicable to common stock fell to $2.55 billion, or 60 cents per share, in the fourth-quarter ended Dec. 31, from $5.71 billion, or $1.21 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts had expected a profit of $1.12 per share, according to Refinitiv data.

Wells Fargo’s net interest income fell 11% from a year earlier as the U.S. central bank lowered borrowing costs three times last year, in a bid to sustain the more than decade-long economic expansion amid the prolonged U.S.-China trade war.

The lender’s mortgage income, however, rose to $783 million from $467 million a year earlier, benefiting from the lower interest rates.

Mortgage applications have increased in most weeks since the Fed began reducing rates, according to a Mortgage Bankers Association index.

The bank’s efficiency ratio was 78.6%, compared with 63.6% a year earlier. The ratio measures non-interest expenses as a percentage of revenue.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Oil slumps, stocks soar as Mideast conflict worries fade


NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices tumbled and equity markets soared on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump said an Iranian missile strike on bases in Iraq had not harmed U.S. troops and damage was minimal, showing Tehran wanted to de-escalate the Middle East standoff.

Iran fired missiles at military bases housing American troops in Iraq in retaliation for last week’s slaying by U.S. drones of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, a strike that raised fears of an escalating regional conflict.

“Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world,” Trump said in an address to the nation.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq stock indexes hit record highs after Trump’s remarks and crude oil prices slumped, with U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate posting a 10% slide from a peak following the Iranian attack to after Trump spoke.

Gold had surged past $1,600 for the first time in nearly seven years in earlier trade before discarding gains as fears of a larger conflict abated, leading investors to move out of safe-haven assets as risk appetite returned.

The safe-haven yen fell from three-month highs against the dollar and the Swiss franc, another safe haven, also retreated. Brent oil futures slid off a four-month peak hit in frenzied early trade soon after the Iranian attack.

“Once Trump spoke and suggested that this is basically done for now, risk took off. We’re back to the all-time highs in the S&P and accordingly, so-called safe assets sold off,” said Jacob Oubina, senior U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets.

Iran’s long-term goal of a sphere of influence might be jeopardized if it attacks too aggressively, said John Vail, chief global strategist at Nikko Asset Management in Tokyo.

“The impact on global risk assets will probably moderate from here as we are likely past the worst part of the crisis,” Vail said in an e-mail. “Neither side wants a war.”

Investors are betting on a de-escalation in Middle East tensions, said Sebastien Galy, senior macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management in Luxembourg.

FILE PHOTO: A man walks through the rain on Wall St. outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 9, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

MSCI’s broad gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.31%, while bourses in Paris, Frankfurt and Milan rebounded.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.17% and emerging market stocks lost 0.15%.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 259.14 points, or 0.91%, to 28,842.82. The S&P 500 gained 27.79 points, or 0.86%, to 3,264.97 and the Nasdaq Composite added 94.44 points, or 1.04%, to 9,163.02.

Spot gold fell more than 1% to $1,554.35 an ounce, having soared to $1,610.90 earlier in the session, its highest since March 2013.

U.S. gold futures settled 0.9% lower at $1,560.20.

A report showing a surprise build in U.S. stockpiles helped crude prices to fall.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said crude inventories rose by 1.2 million barrels during the week ended Jan. 3. [EIA/S] Analysts had expected a decline.

Brent futures fell $2.83 to settle at $65.44 a barrel and U.S. WTI crude settled down $3.09 at $59.61 a barrel. WTI futures earlier hit $65.65, the highest since late April.

U.S. Treasury yields rose after yields on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note overnight dropped to 1.705%, their lowest in more than a month, as worried investors bought U.S. government debt in a safe-haven move after the Iranian attack.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 14/32 in price to yield 1.872%, nearly 20 basis points above the low it hit overnight following the Iranian strike.

Slideshow (3 Images)

The dollar index, tracking the unit against six major peers, rose 0.3%, with the euro down 0.37% to $1.111.

The Japanese yen weakened 0.70% versus the greenback at 109.20 per dollar.

Reporting by Herbert Lash, additional reporting by Kate Duguid in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski



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Saudi economy contracts 0.46% in third quarter as oil output slumps By Reuters


© Reuters. Saudi economy contracts 0.46% in third quarter as oil output slumps

By Saeed Azhar

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s economy contracted by 0.46% in the third quarter from a year earlier, hit by a drop in oil output as the de facto leader of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cut production, government data showed on Tuesday.

Oil sector output declined 6.43%, but non-oil output grew 4.33%, led by private sector activity, the data from the top world crude exporter’s General Authority of Statistics said.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the economy contracted by 0.19% in the third quarter on a quarterly basis.

The data came after the Saudi government in its budget cut its forecast for economic growth to 0.4% in 2019 from 0.9%, with growth hit by lower oil prices and crude production cuts agreed by OPEC nations and producers outside the exporting group.

OPEC and its allies have further agreed to deepen crude output cuts by 500,000 barrels per day until March 2020, which could weigh on the Saudi economic recovery in early 2020.

The government expects real GDP growth at 2.3% in 2020.

Mining and quarrying, which accounts for 38.2% of GDP, saw the biggest decline, 6.39%, fuelled by a 6.52% drop in crude petroleum and output, the data showed.

Petroleum and refining dropped 6.11%, leading to a 2.4% decline in manufacturing output. Manufacturing accounts for 12% of GDP on a constant basis.

The growth in the third quarter came from the wholesale and retail trade, which expanded 8%, while finance, insurance, real estate and business services grew 6.28%.

Economists have said Saudi investments into non-oil projects led by the Public Investment Fund will increasingly drive economic activity in 2020.

As part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s economic diversification plan, proceeds from the sale of oil giant Aramco’s 1.5% share sale will be invested in non-oil sectors in a bid to lessen dependence on oil revenue.

Construction work on the first main components of the Qiddiya entertainment city project and heritage site, Diriyah Gate, is due to start in early 2020, with the Red Sea tourism project also expected to start full-scale construction next year.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Oil Slumps as Some Investors Cash Out By Investing.com


© Reuters.

Investing.com – Profit-taking and concerns over how President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial could play out is pressuring oil into its biggest selloff in three weeks.

Oil prices fell about 1% on Friday as some investors cashed in after a six-day rally in both U.S. West Texas Intermediate and U.K. Brent crude futures.

NYMEX-traded , the U.S. crude benchmark, settled down 74 cents, or 1.1%, at $60.44 per barrel. WTI hit a three-week high of $61.40 on Thursday.

ICE-traded , the global oil benchmark, settled down 40 cents, or 0.6%, at $66.14. Brent reached $66.78 in the previous session, its highest since Sept. 17.

Also pressuring the market was a surge in the U.S. oil , which had its first big jump in nearly eight months, showing drillers returning to the well pad after WTI prices were consistently at or near $60 per barrel.

Despite the slide, WTI and Brent remained up modesty for the week. For the year, though, both are showing heavy double-digit gains with the U.S. benchmark rising 33% and its U.K. peer up 26%,

Friday’s selloff was the biggest in oil since Nov 29. Crude prices have risen almost non-stop since December began, spurred largely by promises of deeper output cuts from January by the OPEC+ alliance of world oil producers led by Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Also aiding sentiment was the tentative U.S.-China phase one trade deal, which Trump insisted was on its way to being formally signed after his telephone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday.

“My initial optimism of heavy exports in Q1 due to … the China deal has been replaced with skepticism,” said Scott Shelton, energy futures broker at ICAP (LON:) in Durham, N.C. “Despite poor products data and soft crude data, the markets (have been) generally making higher highs on a daily basis.”

The U.S. published by industry firm Baker Hughes on Friday showed a reading of 685 versus last week’s 667. The 18-rig jump represented the first double-digit rise since April in the rig count, which is down 267 from a year ago.

As for the concerns over Trump’s impeachment trial, markets are unsettled over the decision by Democrats opposed to Trump from submitting straight away to his Republican allies the impeachment action carried out against him on Wednesday.

Trump became only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached as rival Democrats who control the House of Representatives found him guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress after investigations concluding that he invited foreign meddling in the U.S. electoral process.

The president will have to face trial in the U.S. Senate but is unlikely to be removed from power as the higher legislative decision-making body is controlled by members of his Republican party, who have made it clear that they viewed his impeachment a sham.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.