Asian stock markets still struggling
Due to falling oil prices and the slow growth in China, stock markets in Asia have suffered further losses after billions of dollars have been wiped of the value of shares following another day of global turmoil.
Asian markets failed to hold onto the slight gains they made in early trading, and Japan's Nikkei index closed more than 2% lower. This is despite China’s central bank pumping 600 billion yuan ($91 billion) of liquidity into the system. This included 315 billion yuan in open-market operations.
Thursday 21st’s losses further added to the losses financial markets have seen since the start of the year. The UK, France, and Japan are seeing markets falls more than 20% from their peaks in 2015 – stocks have now dived to their lowest levels since May 2009. Wall Street was also affected, with the Dow Jones closing 1.6% lower after a volatile trading day saw stocks as much as 3% down.
Beijing has now released annual growth figures for 2015 showing the country's lowest growth in 25 years. With China's past growth having been the engine of the global economy, the slowdown is likely to affect markets around the world.
With oil prices officially below $28/barrel, coal, iron ore and other metals have also been dragged into the slump. Analysts have slashed their 2016 oil price forecasts, with Morgan Stanley analysts saying that "oil in the $20s is possible", if China devalues its currency further. Economists at the Royal Bank of Scotland say that oil could fall to $16, while Standard Chartered predicts that prices could hit just $10 a barrel.