Asian stocks fell with crude futures as investors weighed the prospects for higher rates in the U.S., while shares in Japan climbed on speculation for further stimulus.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.1 percent to 139 as of 9:07 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Topix rose 0.4 percent as the yen dropped after Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said there is “sufficient chance” for more easing in September. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer signaled that a 2016 rate hike is still under consideration, echoing hawkish comments from New York Fed President William Dudley last week, ahead of a speech by Janet Yellen later this week at Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
“The Fed is a bit all over the shop so its going to be Janet Yellen’s job this Friday to try to centralize all of these messages into a coherent message that markets can react to,” Matthew Sherwood, head of investment strategy at Perpetual Ltd. in Sydney, which manages about $21 billion, said on Bloomberg Radio. “There’s very little reason the Fed needs to raise rates. I don’t think inflation is getting out of control. It’s going to be interesting to see what the Fed chair has to say.”
Asian stocks have rallied 23 percent from a February low through Friday as lackluster data from the world’s biggest economies fueled speculation central banks will continue to support them with stimulus and loose monetary policy. Investors are looking for clues from the Fed on the timing of potential interest-rate increases. While the odds the Fed will raise borrowing costs in December climbed to 51 percent, traders are betting there’s only a 22 percent chance of tightening next month, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.
Japan’s Topix index added to Friday’s 0.4 percent gain as the yen traded at 100.57 against the dollar. The BOJ won’t hesitate to act based on discussions on the results of a comprehensive review at its September 20-21 board meeting, Kuroda said in an interview published Saturday in the Sankei newspaper.
South Korea’s Kospi index slipped 0.3 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.1 percent. New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index climbed 0.3 percent. Markets in China and Hong Kong have yet to start trading.
Futures on the China A50 Index added 0.1 percent in their most recent trading, as did contracts on the Hang Seng Index. Hong Kong stocks fell Friday, paring their third weekly advance. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1 percent on Friday.
Futures on the S&P 500 Index were little changed. The U.S. equity benchmark index lost 0.1 percent on Friday as a two-month rally ran out of steam amid signs investors are again growing skeptical of the long-awaited rebound in corporate profits.
West Texas Intermediate crude slipped 0.6 percent in early Asian trading after surging 9.1 percent last week. Oil declined after Iraq, OPEC’s second-biggest producer, said it will boost oil exports in the next few days amid a glut of supply.
Brent Crude Oil Extends Gain to $86.66 a Barrel Amid Tight Supply
Tight global oil supply pushed Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria oil is priced, to a multi-year high of $86.66 per barrel on Monday at 3:30 pm Nigerian time.
Oil price was lifted by rising fuel demand in the United States and tight global supply as economies recover from pandemic-induced slumps.
“The global energy supply crunch continues to show its teeth, as oil prices extend their upward march this week, a result of traders pricing in the ongoing rise in fuel demand – which amid limited supply response is depleting global stockpiles,” said Louise Dickson, senior oil markets analyst at Rystad Energy.
Goldman Sachs on the other hand is predicting a further increase in Brent crude oil to $90 a barrel, citing a strong rebound in global oil demand due to switching from gas to oil. This the bank estimated may contribute about 1 million barrels per day to global oil demand.
The investment bank said it expects oil demand to reach around 100 million barrels per day as consumption in Asia increases after the devastating effect of COVID-19.
“While not our base-case, such persistence would pose upside risk to our $90/bbl year-end Brent price forecast,” Goldman said in a research note dated Oct. 24.
Earlier this month, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and their allies, known as OPEC+ agreed to continue increasing oil supply by 400,000 bpd a month until April 2022 despite calls for an increase in global oil supplies.
The decision bolstered the price of Brent crude oil above $84 per barrel and expected to push the price even further to $90 a barrel. Low global oil supply amid rising demand for crude oil will continue to support oil prices in the near term.
“Despite the recent power cuts and impacts to industrial activity in China, oil demand is likely instead supported by switching to diesel powered generators and diesel engines in LNG trucks, as well as by a ramp up in coal production,” Goldman Sachs stated.
U.S. and Ghana Inaugurate New $64.7 Million Energy Infrastructure Investment at Pokuase
U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Stephanie Sullivan joined the President of Ghana H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo and other Ghana government officials to formally inaugurate the Pokuase Bulk Supply Point (BSP) in Accra today. The U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) funded the $64.7 million (GH₵ 391.9 million) electrical infrastructure project under the Ghana Power Compact.
“The Pokuase Bulk Supply Point represents sustainable infrastructure investment by the United States with Ghana that will benefit hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians now and into the future,” remarked Ambassador Sullivan at the inaugural event. “It will help deliver more reliable power to the people, places, and businesses of Accra that drive increased economic activity benefitting families, businesses, and communities.”
This represents a flagship investment under the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Ghana Power Compact. The Pokuase BSP will reduce outages in the power system, help stabilize voltages, and improve the quality and reliability of power supplied to the northern parts of the capital city of Accra. It will also reduce technical losses in the power transmission and distribution system, contributing to the financial viability of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) in the long term. The Pokuase BSP is now the largest-capacity BSP in Ghana at 580 megavolt amperes (MVA) and will directly benefit 350,000 utility customers.
The Government of Ghana implemented the project through the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA). MiDA formally handed over the new power substation to ECG and GRIDCo in today’s ceremony.
The Pokuase BSP is the first major construction project to be completed under the Ghana Power Compact. The $316 million compact is helping the Government of Ghana improve the power sector through investments that will provide more reliable and affordable electricity to Ghana’s businesses and households. The compact is also funding a BSP at Kasoa and two primary substations at Kanda and Legon, in addition to other power sector investments, energy efficiency programs, and women’s empowerment programs within the power sector. The compact program will officially close on June 6, 2022.
Oil Falls Slightly as China Steps in to Curb Rising Coal Prices
Global oil prices moderated slightly on Wednesday following the Chinese government’s decision to curb high coal prices and ensure coal mines function at maximum capacity.
Brent crude, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dropped to $83.98 per barrel at 11:00 am Nigerian time. While the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell by 80 cents or 1 percent to $81.20 a barrel.
“China is planning to take steps to combat the steep rises in the domestic coal market … which could put considerable pressure on the coal price there and reverse the fuel switch to oil,” Commerzbank said.
Prices for Chinese coal and other commodities slumped in early trade, which in turn pulled oil down from an uptick earlier in the day.
China’s National Development and Reform Commission said on Tuesday it would bring coal prices back to a reasonable range and crack down on any irregularities that disturb market order or malicious speculation on thermal coal futures. read more
Oil markets in general remain supported on the back of a global coal and gas crunch, which has driven a switch to diesel and fuel oil for power generation.
But the market on Wednesday was also pressured by data from the American Petroleum Institute industry group which showed U.S. crude stocks rose by 3.3 million barrels for the week ended Oct. 15, according to market sources.
That was well above nine analysts’ forecasts for a rise of 1.9 million barrels in crude stocks, in a Reuters poll.
However, U.S. gasoline and distillate inventories, which include diesel, heating oil and jet fuel, fell much more than analysts had expected, pointing to strong demand.
Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is due later on Wednesday.
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