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S&P/ASX 200 Pre-Market News

Here are the headlines from the S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX: XJO)(ASX: XJO) and Australian finance circles on Thursday morning, including a decline in oil prices.

But first, here’s the data points:

Australian Dollar ($A) (AUDUSD): 73.62 US cents

Dow Jones (DJI): down 0.9%

Oil (WTI): $US70.61 per barrel

Gold: $US1,242 per ounce

Australian Investing News

Making finance news, an overnight sell-off of oil prices saw London-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) fall 3%.

The 4.7% decline in oil prices was fuelled by news from OPEC member Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s oil production increased by around 500,000 barrels per day in June as OPEC collectively increased production by 173,000 barrels per day. Pressure from the world’s largest oil importers, including the USA, India and China, is one of the reasons for Saudi Arabia’s increased output, CNBC says.

Saudi Arabia believes global oil demand could exceed 100 million barrels per day in 2019 — the first time ever. While that could be good news for Australian oil producers like BHP, Rio Tinto, Woodside Petroleum Ltd (ASX: WPL) and Oil Search Ltd (ASX: OSH), Saudi’s decision to boost near-term supply appears to have dampened investors’ optimism. Those concerns are being compounded by fears of a trade war between the USA and China.

In Australian finance news, The a2 Milk Company Ltd (ASX: A2M) announced a trading update ahead of its 2018 financial year (FY18) results release. For the year to June 30th 2018, a2 Milk Company said unaudited revenue totalled $922 million, up 68% on the year earlier. The dairy and infant formula business expects its EBITDA to sales ratio to equal 30%.

Looking ahead, a2 Milk Company anticipates more revenue growth in FY19, particularly for sales of its nutritional products.

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