Scoreboard: Oil price plunge

OPEC's decision to leave production quotas unchanged caused oil prices to plummet, while Germany's inflation rate sinks to new lows.

The US financial markets were closed for the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

Ministers from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries have decided to leave production quotas unchanged, resulting in a 6 per cent slump in world oil prices.

The German inflation rate has fallen to the lowest levels in five years with consumer prices up just 0.6 per cent on a year ago in November. 

European shares were generally higher on Thursday but losses in the energy sector offset gains in the broader market. Shares in airlines led market gains. The FTSEurofirst 300 index rose by 0.2 per cent, the German Dax lifted for the 11th straight day, up by 0.6 per cent, while the UK FTSE fell by 6 points higher or 0.1 per cent. In London trade shares in BHP Billiton fell by 2.4 per cent while Rio Tinto gained 0.3 per cent. 

US sharemarkets were closed for Thanksgiving Day. At the end of trade on Wednesday the Dow Jones was up by 13 points or 0.1 per cent, the S&P 500 index was up by 0.3 per cent to record highs and the Nasdaq had gained 29 points or 0.6 per cent.

The US bond market was closed for Thanksgiving DayOn Wednesday, US 2 year yields were steady near 0.52 per cent while US 10 year yields fell by 2 points to 2.245 per cent. Over the week, US 2-year yields were unchanged while US 10-year yields fell by over 6 points. 

Major currencies fell against the greenback in European and North American trade on Thursday. The euro fell from highs near US$1.252 to lows near $US1.2465, and was around $US1.247 in late North American trade. The Aussie dollar fell from highs near US86.1c to around US85.35c and was near US85.5c in late North American trade. And the Japanese yen weakened from ¥117.24 per US dollar to ¥117.87 and was near ¥117.73 in late US North American trade.

World oil prices slumped on Thursday after OPEC oil nations kept production quotas unchanged. In electronic trade Brent crude fell by $US4.93 or 6.3 per cent to $US72.87 a barrel while the US Nymex crude price fell by $US4.64 or 6.3 per cent to $US69.05 a barrel.

Base metal prices were lower by up to 0.7 per cent on the London Metal Exchange on Thursday with zinc leading the declines while nickel bucked the trend, up less than 0.1 per cent. Gold fell as the US dollar rose with Comex gold futures down by $US6.80 an ounce or 0.6 per cent to US$1,189.80 per ounce. Iron ore rose by $US1.70 to $US69.70 a tonne on Thursday.

Ahead: In Australia, private sector credit figures and monthly banking statistics are released. In the US, there is only a half day of trade on equities markets.

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