Rough Chinese economic data pointing to a further slowdown in manufacturing shook up Chinese markets, triggering a recently installed circuit breaker that cut off the SSE Composite’s losses at just under 7% before things could get much worse. It was the index’s worst single-day performance since the market crash back in August.
The market malaise spread west with the sun, and the STOXX 600 index, which aggregates trading activity across Europe, is down about 2.5%.
Finally, the contagion washed up on US shores. The S&P 500 index is down more than 2% less than an hour into the first trading session of the new year.
On the other hand, oil—which is coming off a brutal year—is doing pretty well, with US benchmark West Texas Intermediate up 1.8%, and international benchmark Brent crude bubbling 3.4% higher. That said, the developments there are more political (in particular, a breakdown in Arab-Iranian diplomatic relations) than strictly financial. Oil prices could spike if violence in the region escalates beyond the protests at the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran over the weekend.