Trade war

Oil prices down on trade war fears

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Oil prices fell on Tuesday, weighed down by the continuing US-China trade war, as concerns remained over rising US crude production and global demand.

Brent Crude Oil Futures was down 0.5% to $58.30 a barrel.

West Texas Intermediate meanwhile fell 0.4% to $54.71 a barrel.

Trade war hurts sentiment

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

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So are the markets being affected by the trade war?

Monique Wong, senior portfolio manager Coutts, told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme that it makes a "lot of noise" for the markets and weights on sentiment".

France Haque, chief economist at Santander UK, said that the trade war was a limited direct impact on the UK. "Having said that from the markets reaction in the beginning of the week this is a problem for them and it affects sentiment"

Currency war starting?

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

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Megan Greene, economist and senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, has been speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today Programme about the turmoil in the markets in the last couple of days.

There are fears of a currency war, she said, after the US designated China a "currency manipulator".

"The reason investors are so worried about that designating China a currency manipulator doesn’t really have an immediate implications but it’s kind of a dead end,” she said. The International Monetary Fund put out a report last month saying China is not a currency manipulator.

So the US, she said, might push for a lower currency. Central banks in New Zealand, Thailand and India cut rates more aggressively than expected on Wednesday which she said "might be the beginning of a currency war".

"And, if it is, we’ll see lots of different countries trying to weaken their currencies. Of course everyone can’t weaken their currency relative to everyone else.

"The result will be an undermining of growth, higher inflation and huge volatility in foreign exchange markets."