US stocks ended the session little changed. Energy shares lagged as oil prices turned negative with US crude futures settling down by $1.14 at $47.37 a barrel. Also playing their part was geopolitical tensions after the US and South Korea held a joint military exercise over the weekend – much to the annoyance of the North Korean government. In turn, perceived safe-haven assets benefitted with Treasuries, gold and the Japanese Yen all ahead. Another potential risk event, namely the US debt ceiling, is also coming into play and US officials made some remarks on the issue – US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said they aim to work with congress to raise the debt limit, adding that they have a strong preference for a clean bill, while Senate majority leader McConnell stated there is zero chance that Congress would fail to raise the debt ceiling by late September.
Ahead of the Asian open, Kuwait’s Oil Minister said at the November meeting, OPEC will discuss extending or ending its production cuts, adding oil inventories over the past week declined more than expected, one week forecasts were 2 Mln barrels a day, down from 6.5 Mln. In later comments, he said an oil leak offshore has been detected and the source of the leak is being investigated, adding Iran and Saudi Arabia have informed Kuwait that they have not detected any oil spillage in their waters. Meanwhile, ahead of his address to the nation at 02:00 BST, a Senior US Official informed Fox News that President has signed off on sending an extra 4000 troops to Afghanistan.
Looking ahead, as mentioned US President Trump will deliver a speech to the nation at 02:00 BST, in which he is expected to lay out their strategy for Afghanistan. Data wise, we get Australia’s weekly consumer confidence index and Japanese supermarket sales.