China, the world's second-biggest oil consumer, opened its borders on Saturday for the first time in three years, buoying the outlook for its demand for transportation fuels as well as the global economy.
Stocks across the board tumbled as jitters about an escalation in regional tension with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set to begin a trip to Taiwan, adding to fears about the risk of global recession.
Battle between economic optimism and fears about inflation and possible rate hikes that recovery will fuel has continued to play out on trading floors.
Mirroring the emptying of supermarket shelves around the world, indebted corporates have rushed into money markets to hoard dollars, with a global shortage of greenback funding threatening to cripple firms from airlines to retailers.
Asian markets fell following declines on Wall Street as the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump weighed on sentiment.
Sterling at one point plunged to $1.1959 but rebounded as traders bet Prime Minister Boris Johnson's loss would take a no-deal divorce off the table.
Markets in China, Japan, Australia and South Korea all declined while the Japanese yen rose against the dollar as currency traders looked for a safe haven.
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