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Japan's Nikkei share average settled 0.6% down at 19, 234. 62 points as market's sentiment was dimmed by a stronger yen. Investors also took caution of the weakened financials which were weighed down by the decline in U.S. bond yields after relatively dovish comments from a top U.S. Fed Reserve official.

The benchmark index ended negative for the week, declining by 0.7%. The Topix shed 0.4% to 1,544.54 while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 lost 0.5% to 13,855.47.

New York Fed Chief William Dudley's recent comments was perceived as more dovish compared to Fed Chair Janet Yellen's remarks before the Congress, who struck a hawkish tone.

Financial stocks lost ground after a recent rally due to the surge in U.S. yields earlier this week. The sector underperformed after the yields on the 10-year notes sank to 2.44% down from the 2.50% seen on Wednesday.

Toshiba Corp. posted a steep drop of 9.2% after rating agency S&P issued a warning that it could slash the group's rating if financial backing from lenders includes any form of loan restructuring. There were also concerns that the stock may be downgraded to the second section of Tokyo Stock Exchange if continues to underperform until the end of the business year.

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Oil producers around the world have the same mindset that they should continue working together on production after their agreement on supply cuts is completed at the end of this year, according to Saudi Arabia's energy minister Khalid al-Falih stated on Sunday.

This marks the first time Saudi arabia publicly remarked that OPEC and non-OPEC producers would continue to cooperate after 2018.

The exact workings of the cooperation for next year has not been decided, Falih stated, however, if oil stockpiles rise in 2018 as some in the market project, producers might have to be open to the possibility of extending the supply cut agreement into next year. He said that producers are ready to continue cooperation beyond this year, given the existing consensus among participants of the deal to continue.

Falih stated that an agreement on production levels in the wake of 2018 would be focused on assuring market participants and the global community that the deal would be something permanent and would be a group effort.

The statement comes after a summit of the joint ministerial committee which supervises the implementation of the agreed cuts. The committee is joined by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Venezuela and Algeria, along with non-OPEC producers Russia and Oman. The UAE was also present during the meeting as it is currently the president of OPEC.

Oil prices declined over one percent as a rebound in U.S. production countered ongoing declines in crude stockpiles.

If Friday's declines continue, this week we will observe its biggest weekly price declines since October.

Brent crude futures stood at $68.46, falling 85 cents or 1.2 percent, from their last settlement. U.S. WTI crude futures traded at $63.02 per barrel, down 93 cents or 1.5 percent from their last close. The U.S. benchmark recorded a December-214 high of $64.89 per barrel on Tuesday.

According to traders, the lower prices triggered by a rebounded in U.S. oil production following a recent decline, as well as by an expected decline in demand when winter ends in the northern hemisphere.

U.S. crude oil production stood at 9.75 per barrel on Jan 12, according to data from EIA. Production has declined to 9.49 million barrels at the beginning of the year, mostly because of a cold snap that halted some production.

Majority of analysts expect U.S. production to surpass 10 million bpd soon. They also noted the excessive long positions in financial oil markets as a likely brake on any upward trend in prices, with majority of traders soon likely to lock in profits from the recent price rally, which have seen crude surge by around 14 percent since December.

The dollar was under pressure on Friday due to worries over a possible U.S. government shutdown.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was flat at 90.502. It had dropped to a three-year low of 90.113 on Thursday and was on track to lose 0.5 percent on the week.

Against the yen, the dollar was 0.1 percent lower at 111.015. It climbed to 111.480 on Thursday before dropping on concerns over a possible U.S. government shutdown as lawmakers struggled to cobble a federal budget deal.

The focus was on whether lawmakers can reach at least a temporary agreement to fund government operations by a deadline on Friday.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill to fund government operations through Feb. 16 and avoid agency shutdowns this weekend when existing funding expires. However, the bill must be approved by the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future.

The euro was steady at $1.224 after rising nearly 0.45 percent overnight.

The common currency rose to a three-year high above $1.2300 earlier this week on expectations that the European Central Bank would take steps towards winding back on stimulus measures to normalize monetary policy. The euro's rally was tempered later as some ECB officials voiced worries about the currency's strength.


See also: Current support and resistance levels
EUR/USD
GBP/USD
USD/JPY
GBP/JPY
EUR/CHF
AUD/USD
Jan 22 at 3:52 UTC

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