It was a bad start of the new trading week. Stocks in Asia were deep in the red due to risk aversion, falling the most in four weeks amid concern about the "Brexit" referendum, uncertainty before this week's central bank meetings in the USA and Japan, falling crude oil prices, and the worst mass shooting in modern US history. Indonesia was among the affected markets; the benchmark Jakarta Composite Index fell 0.84 percent to 4,807.23 on Monday (13/06), while the rupiah only depreciated slightly to IDR 13,298 per US dollar (Bloomberg Dollar Index).
Stock markets in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai all plunged by around 3 percent today as investors seek safe haven assets amid rising uncertainty. The notable exception was Australia where markets were closed for a public holiday. Those safe haven assets that jumped on risk aversion were government bonds, gold (touching a four-week high) and the Japanese yen (giving rise to tumbling export-oriented stocks on the Nikkei 225 index).
One of the main factors that causes severe volatility is the possible exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the so-called "Brexit". The referendum - scheduled for 23 June 2016, is coming closer and closer. In this referendum UK voters will decide whether or not to leave the EU. The UK government as well as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have warned of economic shocks in case the UK indeed decides to break away from the EU. In the next one and a half weeks the "Brexit" is expected to remain a problem that will put downward pressure on riskier assets, including emerging market stocks and currencies.
Investors are also cautious ahead of central bank meetings later this week in the USA and Japan. Although the US Federal reserve is not expected to undertake any action, analysts claim that the Bank of Japan could surprise markets with additional monetary easing this week.
Meanwhile, data released this morning show that China's fixed-asset investment growth eased to 9.6 percent (y/y) in the January-May 2016 period, below market expectations. Moreover, China's statistics bureau said there remain downward pressures within the economy.
Crude oil prices extended their slide on Monday after having declined 3 percent last Friday. Brent crude slipped 1 percent to USD $50.03 per barrel. Tumbling oil and gas shares dragged down European stocks - for a fourth day - on Monday.
Lastly, in Orlando (Florida) 50 people were killed and dozens of others wounded in a gay-bar on early Sunday morning when 29-year-old Omar Mateen engaged in a shooting spree. The killer spoke about Islamic State (IS) in a telephone call before starting the shooting. However, as of yet he is regarded a 'lone-wolf terrorist'. This incident may have added some pessimistic sentiments on the trading floors on Monday.