Opening Bell: China suspends trading again, oil falls below $35 per barrel, Fed minutes reveal unease

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Trading on China's stock exchange was suspended again early this morning as the index fell by 7% for the second time since the market reopened on Monday.

The "circuit-breaker" rule was triggered during the first 30 minutes of trading as the market remains highly volatile.

Investors have remained nervous after the Chinese central bank took greater than expected action to devalue the yuan, driving it to its lowest value in five years.

A similar slump in China on Monday caused a sell-off in markets around the world.

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Oil prices fell to below $35 per barrel for the first time since 2004 last night - this is a drop of 5% since last weekend when the beheading of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia led to the cutting of diplomatic ties between Iran and the country.

This dispute has dispelled speculation that OPEC may agree to oil production cuts to lift prices as tensions increase between two of its key producers.

Poor economic indicators from China and India mean that the supply glut could continue to grow if demand for oil falls in these markets.

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The minutes from the Federal Reserve's December meeting which resulted in the first post-crash interest rate hike in the US have been released - they show that some officials are concerned that the country will be caught in low inflation cycle.

The Fed's goal is to keep inflation at close to 2% - some members of the Open Market Committee expressed “significant concern about still-low readings on actual inflation” and “uncertainty and risks present in the inflation outlook,” according to the minutes.

While the US has indicated that further rate rises are coming, the strong performance of the dollar and increased global economic uncertainty could force the Fed to take a more cautious approach in the coming months.

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The British economy could be badly damaged in 2016 by a "dangerous cocktail" of risks abroad or higher public spending at home, George Osborne will warn today according to Sky News.

The UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer will claim the economy could be dragged into decline by economic problems in China, Brazil or Russia, falling oil prices or the political crisis in the Middle East.

In a speech to business leaders in Cardiff, he will warn against complacency or a sense of "mission accomplished", despite the economy performing "better than almost anyone" could have hoped.

 

Additional reporting by IRN