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Asian Stocks Volatile Amid Brexit Worries, MSCI China Decision

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Asian stocks

Asian stocks recovered slightly from a near three-week low on Wednesday as markets digest MSCI’s decision not to include domestic Chinese equities in its indexes.

Mainland Chinese shares, among Asia’s worst performers this year, were mixed while Hong Kong slid, as markets, which had expected Chinese A-shares to be included in the emerging market index, considered the announcement.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan were down 0.1 percent. Japan’s Nikkei reversed earlier losses to rise 0.7 percent.

China’s CSI 300 index and the Shanghai Composite staged a turnaround from earlier declines to rise 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent respectively. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.1 percent.

MSCI in its decision said Beijing had more work to do in liberalising capital markets, and said it wanted more time to assess the effectiveness of the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) quota allocation scheme and capital mobility policy changes.

MSCI said it would consider China A shares’ inclusion as part of its 2017 review and didn’t rule out a potential off-cycle announcement should further positive developments occur ahead of June 2017.

“We agree there is room for improvement in the regulatory environment and in corporate governance in the A-share market,” Steven Sun, head of China and Hong Kong equity research at HSBC, wrote in a note.

“However, we believe it is moving in the right direction…We still think inclusion is probable (possibly by year-end).”

China’s securities regulator said the decision won’t impact the reform and opening process of the country’s capital markets, adding that the country needs to build long-term, stable and healthy capital markets.

The Chinese central bank set the yuan midpoint rate at 6.6001, the lowest level against the dollar since January 2011. It eased to 6.6020 per dollar on the open, and was last trading slightly higher at 6.5978.

The offshore yuan rose to 6.6071 after earlier falling to 6.6152 to the dollar, its weakest level since early February as worries about China’s economy deepened after data showed growth in China’s fixed-asset investment slowed to a 15-year low.

On Wall Street, S&P 500 Index hit a three-week low to end at 2,075.32 on Tuesday, down 0.18 percent, in its fourth consecutive drop, led by a 1.45 percent fall in financial shares.

European shares were under more pressure, with Britain’s FTSE falling 2.0 percent to a 3 1/2-month low on fears disruptions from leaving the political and economic union could harm the UK economy, possibly sending it into a recession.

“The economic impact would occur over months and years, not immediately. But financial markets are constantly trying to look forward and discount what’s going to happen,” said Michael Metcalfe, head of global macro strategy at State Street Global Markets based in London.

“But I think the real question will become political – that a large country has decided to leave the EU,” he added.

Worries that Brexit will deal a significant blow to the integration of Europe have helped to push up borrowing costs of European countries with weak credit ratings.

The gap between 10-year Portuguese bond yields and German peers rose to 337 basis points, its widest since February. The spread for Italian and Spanish debt also rose to levels not seen since February.

Investors instead flocked to the safety of German bunds, whose yield fell below zero for the first time in history on Tuesday.

The Japanese yen also held firm, staying near a six-week high against the dollar and a 3 1/2-year high against the euro.

The yen was changing hands at 106.285 to the dollar, having hit a six-week high of 105.63 on Tuesday. The euro stood at 119.02 yen after falling to a low of 118.48.

The safehaven Swiss franc was last trading at 1.0798 per euro after rising to a 5 1/2-month high of 1.0787 in the previous session.

The British pound struggled near its two-month low against the dollar touched on Tuesday. It last stood at $1.4136, close to Tuesday’s low of $1.4091.

Concerns about Brexit dwarfed any optimism from solid U.S. retail sales data published on Tuesday.

Fed funds futures show investors see almost no chance of the Fed raising U.S. interest rates on Wednesday after the dismal U.S. payrolls report for May.

The 10-year U.S. debt yield fell to a four-month low of 1.567 percent on Tuesday and last stood at 1.6113 percent.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Crude Oil

Oil Slips With Energy Prices in Europe Halts Record Rally

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Crude Oil - Investors King

Oil dipped toward $72 a barrel in New York after prices of energy commodities in Europe halted a record-breaking run.

West Texas Intermediate futures fell 0.6%, having reached the highest intraday level since early August on Wednesday. A rally in European gas and power prices to unprecedented levels was set to end as industries were starting to curb consumption. The surge in energy rates could temporarily boost diesel demand by as much as 2 million barrels a day as consumers switch fuels, according to Citigroup Inc.

Still, the bullish signals for oil are continuing to increase. U.S. crude inventories dropped by more than 6 million barrels last week to a two-year low, according to government figures, as coronavirus vaccination programs permit economies to reopen. Chevron Corp. Chief Executive Officer Mike Wirth warned that the world is facing high energy prices for the foreseeable future.

The investor optimism is showing up in key oil time spreads widening. Trading of bullish Brent options also surged to a two-month high on Wednesday.

Prices have been pushed higher in recent days “by supply outages combined with expectations of switching from gas to oil in the power sector,” said Helge Andre Martinsen, a senior oil market analyst at DNB Bank ASA. “We still believe in softer prices toward year-end and early next year as curtailed production returns and OPEC+ continues to increase production.”

Strong prices for gas, liquefied natural gas and oil are expected to last “for a while” as producers resist the urge to drill again, Chevron’s Wirth told Bloomberg News. Norway’s Equinor ASA said Thursday it also expects European gas prices to remain high over winter.

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Energy

Fuel Scarcity: Petrol Sells N220 Per Litre in Nsukka

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petrol scarcity Nigeria

Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise called petrol, now sells for between N200 and N220 per liter at the independent marketers’ service stations in Nsukka, Enugu State.

The News Agency of Nigeria is reporting the hike in the price against the official pump price of N162 per liter.

It said it started about a fortnight ago due to the scarcity of the commodity in the town and its environs.

Some residents of the town expressed deep worry over the development in separate interviews with NAN on Wednesday.

A civil servant, Stephen Ozioko, said the situation had further compounded the economic difficulties in the area.

Ozioko said many private car owners had been compelled to park their vehicles at home and move around in public transport.

He said: “Since the scarcity started, I decided to park my car and take public transport to the office and back home. N220 per liter is exorbitant and I cannot afford it considering my salary as a civil servant. I shall continue to use public transport until the situation returns to normal.”

A building material dealer, Timothy Ngwu, said the development had also led to an increase in transport fare in the area.

Ngwu said: “Some people now trek from Nsukka Old Park to Odenigbo Roundabout because of the 100 percent hike in fares from N50 to N100 by tricycle.

“Before now, transport fare from Nsukka to Enugu was N500, but transporters now charge between N800 and N1000.”

Also, a commuter bus driver, Victor Ogbonna, described the scarcity and hike in the price of petrol as “unfortunate and an ugly development”.

Ogbonna added: “Today, only a few filling stations are selling the commodity in Nsukka town, while others are shut.”

He alleged that some filling stations, which claimed to be out-of-stock, were selling to black marketers at night.

He said: “This is why black marketers have sprung up everywhere in the town, selling the commodity for about N300 per liter.”

NAN reports that virtually all the major marketers in the area have stopped the sale of petrol, claiming to be out-of-stock.

The people called on the government to urgently intervene in order to bring the situation under control and also put an end to its harsh economic effects on the messes.

NAN.

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Energy

DPR Targets N3.2T Revenue by Year-End

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Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR)-Investors king

Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) will hit the N3.2 trillion revenue target by December 2021, according to its Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sarki Auwalu.

Auwalu made the disclosure when he led a delegation of the DPR management team to the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Mr Bello Gusau, in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said that 70 percent of the revenue projection had already been met. “Last year, we exceed our revenue budget. We were given N1.5 trillion but we were able to generate N2.7trillion.

“This year, our revenue budget was N3.2 trillion. By the end of August 2021, we have generated up to 70 per cent.

“So, we with September, October, November and December, it is only the 30 per cent that we will work over,’’ he said

He noted that the government took advantage of fiscal terms within the old and new legislation, thereby creating a level of increased signature bonuses.

“We reorganise the work programme that is normally being done in the DPR to key into the new operational structure as we see it in the bill, now an act.

“That programme is being handled by the planning and strategic business unit as against what we use to have because the entire work programme is supposed to show not only technical but also commercial and viability of oil fields and to guarantee the return on investment for investors.

“We have also created an economic value and benchmarking unit to key into the new fiscal provisions of the PIA,’’ he said.

Commenting on capacity, Auwalu said the country stands at the advantage of exporting skills to emerging oil and gas countries across Africa with proper implementation of the newly passed Petroleum Industry Act.

This, he said, the DPR was ready to partner with the Fund to continue to build capacity in the oil and gas sector

He noted that the Federal Government was determined to create leeway that would encourage investors and drastically improve the nation’s petroleum industry.

He further noted that no fewer than 300 legal battles in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, which had been stalled for the past 20 years in courts, had been resolved through alternative dispute resolution.

According to Auwalu, the DPR is strategising well to ensure effective implementation of the PIA.

Responding, Gusau commended the DPR for enabling the industry and enhancing business activities in the oil and gas sector.

He said that DPR remained the head of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria adding that the Fund was grateful to benefit from the wealth of ideas from DPR.

“The last time we visited, we had a good discussion and issues raised are being implemented like tracking the inflow of funds in signature bonus accounts.

“We extended the meeting and involved ministry of Finance, Accountant General office and even the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“Sitting at field development plans and attending significant meetings, helped us to know where and what the industry is trying to do and it also helps to inform our decisions in training and capacity plans,’’ he said

He urged the DPR to continue on its effort to ensure an efficient and productive petroleum industry in Nigeria

He assured collaboration with all as the head of the implementation committee of the Petroleum Industry Act. (NAN)

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