Concerns over Gulf conflict escalation weigh on markets

In Europe, Germany’s DAX tumbled 0.8 percent to 12,069 in midday trading. Britain’s FTSE (pictured) 100 fell 0.5 percent to 7,328 and France’s CAC 40 also dipped 0.5 percent to 5,348. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 14 June 2019
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Concerns over Gulf conflict escalation weigh on markets

AP TOKYO: Shares in many markets fell on Friday as investors fretted over the mounting crisis in the Arabian Gulf and lingering worries about trade conflict between the US and China.
The US has blamed the suspected attacks on Thursday on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz on Iran. That has triggered the latest bout of selling in the markets with investors worrying about a potential escalation. The key concern centers on the supply of oil. One third of all oil traded by sea, which amounts to 20 percent of oil traded worldwide, passes through the strait.
The US military on Friday released a video it said shows Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the oil tankers targeted near the Strait of Hormuz, suggesting that Iran sought to remove evidence of its involvement from the scene. Iran denies being involved.
“The attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman has raised the geopolitical temperature even further in the region, at a time when it is high already, given the strained relations between the US and Iran,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.
In Europe, Germany’s DAX tumbled 0.8 percent to 12,069 in midday trading. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.5 percent to 7,328 and France’s CAC 40 also dipped 0.5 percent to 5,348.
Earlier, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.4 percent to finish at 21,116.89. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.7 percent to 27,118.35, while the Shanghai Composite fell nearly 1 percent to 22,881.97.


British mortgage approvals near 2-year high in June: UK Finance

Updated 53 min 49 sec ago
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British mortgage approvals near 2-year high in June: UK Finance

  • Consumer demand has generally been robust since Britain voted to leave the EU in June 2016
  • The number of mortgages approved for house purchase rose to 42,653 in June
LONDON: The number of mortgages approved for British house purchases edged up to one of its highest levels in the past two years last month, though credit card lending grew at a slower pace, data from industry body UK Finance showed on Wednesday.
Consumer demand has generally been robust since Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, but the housing market has slowed, especially in London and surrounding areas.
Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane said on Tuesday that there were signs the slowdown in the housing market had bottomed out.
The number of mortgages approved for house purchase rose to 42,653 in June, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, up from 42,407 in May and close to April’s two-year high of 42,792.
Net credit card lending slowed to £119 million ($148 million) in June from £247 million in May, the lowest since a contraction of £54 million in December 2018.