7 Jan 2015

Stock prices fall as oil prices drop

9:41 am on 7 January 2015

Stock prices have fallen on global markets, with nervous investors spooked by tumbling oil prices and the possibility of Greece leaving the eurozone if a left-wing party takes power there later this month.

The steady decline of oil prices since mid-2014 has continued, with the benchmark Brent crude price at a near-six-year-low.

While United States and European stocks had risen overnight, rebounding from heavy losses, Japanese shares posted their worst one-day drop in 10 months overnight.

New Zealand's sharemarket had taken less of a knock, with the benchmark top 50 index dropping about half a percent yesterday.

The price of oil has fallen to about $US51 a barrel.

The concern was that a supply glut would hurt the earnings of oil companies and exacerbate disinflationary pressure world-wide.

Investors also feared the left-wing Syriza Party could win a general election in Greece on 25 January.

The party had threatened to renounce the country's bailout agreement with the European Union, raising the risk of a sovereign default.

ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie said tumbling oil prices were like a tax cut for New Zealand consumers.

Mr Bagrie said New Zealand markets were holding up reasonably well and the falling oil prices should flow on to help retailers.

He said New Zealand had a few economic issues to manage but was still on track for 3 percent growth over the next 12 months.