Chinese yuan weakens

Beijing, Dec 31 (IANS) The central parity rate of the Chinese currency renminbi, or the yuan, weakened by 41 basis points to 6.4936 against the US dollar on Thursday, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trading System.

In China’s spot foreign exchange market, the yuan is allowed to rise or fall by 2 percent from the central parity rate each trading day, Xinhua reported.

The central parity rate of the yuan against the US dollar is based on a weighted average of prices offered by market makers before the opening of the interbank market each business day.

US stocks fall amid oil decline

 US stocks retreated as oil prices tumbled again after solid gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 117.11 points, or 0.66 percent, to 17,603.87 on Wednesday, Xinhua reported.

The S&P 500 lost 15.00 points, or 0.72 percent, to 2,063.36. The Nasdaq Composite Index decreased 42.09 points, or 0.82 percent, to 5,065.85.

The volatility in oil prices dominated market sentiment.

Both the US oil and Brent crude plunged over 3 percent Wednesday as US crude stockpiles increased unexpectedly.

The West Texas Intermediate for February delivery moved down $1.27 to settle at $36.6 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for February delivery decreased $1.33 to close at $36.46 a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

Canadian stock market drops

 Canada’s main stock market in Toronto slumped as lower commodity prices in crude oil and gold weighed on energy and mining sectors.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s benchmark Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index fell 103.46 points, or 0.78 percent, to 13,142.29 points, down for a second consecutive day on Wednesday, Xinhua reported.

Seven of the TSX index’ s eight main sectors went down.

Oil prices plunged as US crude stockpiles increased unexpectedly. The WTI for February delivery was down $1.27 to $36.6, dragging TSX’s energy group to a fall of 2.48 percent.

One of the leading decliners on the market was Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, which fell 2.63 percent to 30.32 Canadian dollars (about $22) a share.

Enbridge Inc fell 2 percent to 27.50 Canadian dollars a share as the company said on Tuesday it has halted operations on its Ozark pipeline due to flooding along the Mississippi river.

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