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Singapore Braces for Globalization Backlash as Trade Fears Grow

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  • Singapore Braces for Globalization Backlash as Trade Fears Grow

Singapore, on track to post its worst economic performance since the 2009 global financial crisis this year, is bracing for more uncertainty as rising protectionism poses risks for the export-dependent nation.

While the government is forecasting economic growth of as much as 3 percent in 2017 — double the maximum it sees for this year — the city-state faces mounting global concerns that could affect trade, including financial market volatility following the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union, the threat of debt defaults in China and the aftermath of the U.S. election.

“Political risks and uncertainties have risen, and could in turn lead to greater economic uncertainties,” Loh Khum Yean, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, told reporters in Singapore. “An increasing backlash against globalization could further dampen global trade, which is already weak.”

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump won support by tapping into workers’ anger over job losses linked to globalization. He has pledged not to revive the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade pact signed by countries including Japan, Australia and Singapore, and to impose higher tariffs on China. Singapore is vowing to push ahead with TPP, Loh said.

The city-state Thursday cut the top end of its 2016 growth forecast to 1.5 percent from 2 percent and estimated non-oil domestic exports probably fell as much as 5.5 percent. The economy contracted an annualized 2 percent in the third quarter from the previous three months, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a report.

For next year, the government’s export forecast ranges between a 1 percent decline to a 1 percent gain.

“We find it hard to see the economy improving from this year, going into next year,” Brian Tan, an economist at Nomura Singapore Ltd., said by phone. “You have the protectionist stuff, European elections coming next year, so many risks, it’s hard for us to share the government’s optimism.”

The U.S. is Singapore’s third-largest trading partner, while China is the largest. Loh said Singapore is concerned about “rising corporate credit levels” in Asia’s biggest economy, as a sharper-than-expected correction in the real-estate market could lead to surging defaults in property-related loans.

While the U.K. is a smaller trading market for Singapore, uncertainty about Brexit negotiations could lead to bouts of volatility in financial markets and possibly a slowdown in growth in the U.K. and the euro area in general, Loh said.

Krystal Tan, an economist with Capital Economics Ltd. in Singapore, said she’s anticipating growth in the city-state of about 1.5 percent next year, even as exports stabilize. Borrowing costs, which are closely tied to U.S. interest rates, may rise and curb household and business spending, she said.

“It’s a bit surprising that they have the upper range of their forecast so high at 3 percent,” Tan said by phone. “I would expect the government to cut the top of the forecast gradually over the next few months.”

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.

Crude Oil

Brent Crude Oil Approaches $70 Per Barrel on Friday

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Nigerian Oil Approaches $70 Per Barrel Following OPEC+ Production Cuts Extension

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose to $69 on Friday at 3:55 pm Nigerian time.

Oil price jumped after OPEC and allies, known as OPEC plus, agreed to role-over crude oil production cuts to further reduce global oil supplies and artificially sustain oil price in a move experts said could stoke inflationary pressure.

Brent crude oil rose from $63.86 per barrel on Wednesday to $69 per barrel on Friday as energy investors became more optimistic about the oil outlook.

While certain experts are worried that U.S crude oil production will eventually hurt OPEC strategy once the economy fully opens, few experts are saying production in the world’s largest economy won’t hit pre-pandemic highs.

According to Vicki Hollub, the CEO of Occidental, U.S oil production may not return to pre-pandemic levels given a shift in corporates’ value.

“I do believe that most companies have committed to value growth, rather than production growth,” she said during a CNBC Evolve conversation with Brian Sullivan. “And so I do believe that that’s going to be part of the reason that oil production in the United States does not get back to 13 million barrels a day.”

Hollub believes corporate organisations will focus on optimizing present operations and facilities, rather than seeking growth at all costs. She, however, noted that oil prices rebounded faster than expected, largely due to China, India and United States’ growing consumption.

The recovery looks more V-shaped than we had originally thought it would be,” she said. Occidental previous projection had oil production recovering to pre-pandemic levels by the middle of 2022. The CEO Now believes demand will return by the end of this year or the first few months of 2022.

I do believe we’re headed for a much healthier supply and demand environment” she said.

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Crude Oil

Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts

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Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose to $67.70 per barrel on Thursday following the decision of OPEC and allies, known as OPEC+, to extend production cuts.

OPEC and allies are presently debating whether to restore as much as 1.5 million barrels per day of crude oil in April, according to people with the knowledge of the meeting.

Experts have said OPEC+ continuous production cuts could increase global inflationary pressure with the rising price of could oil. However, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said “I don’t think it will overheat.”

Last year “we suffered alone, we as OPEC+” and now “it’s about being vigilant and being careful,” he said.

Saudi minister added that the additional 1 million barrel-a-day voluntary production cut the kingdom introduced in February was now open-ended. Meaning, OPEC+ will be withholding 7 million barrels a day or 7 percent of global demand from the market– even as fuel consumption recovers in many nations.

Experts have started predicting $75 a barrel by April.

“We expect oil prices to rise toward $70 to $75 a barrel during April,” said Ann-Louise Hittle, vice president of macro oils at consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. “The risk is these higher prices will dampen the tentative global recovery. But the Saudi energy minister is adamant OPEC+ must watch for concrete signs of a demand rise before he moves on production.”

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Gold

Gold Hits Eight-Month Low as Global Optimism Grows Amid Rising Demand for Bitcoin

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Gold Struggles Ahead of Economic Recovery as Bitcoin, New Gold, Surges

Global haven asset, gold, declined to the lowest in more than eight months on Tuesday as signs of global economic recovery became glaring with rising bond yields.

The price of the precious metal declined to $1,718 per ounce during London trading on Thursday, down from $2,072 it traded in August as more investors continue to cut down on their holdings of the metal.

The previous metal usually performs poorly with rising yields on other assets like bonds, especially given the fact that gold does not provide streams of interest payments. Investors have been jumping on US bonds ahead of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, expected to stoke stronger US price growth.

We see the rising bond yields as a sign of economic optimism, which has also prompted gold investors to sell some of their positions,” said Carsten Menke of Julius Baer.

Another analyst from Commerzbank, Carsten Fritsch, said that “gold’s reputation appears to have been tarnished considerably by the heavy losses of recent weeks, as evidenced by the ongoing outflows from gold ETFs”.

Experts at Investors King believed the growing demand for Bitcoin, now called the new gold, and other cryptocurrencies in recent months by institutional investors is hurting gold attractiveness.

In a recent report, analysts at Citigroup have started projecting mainstream acceptance for the unregulated dominant cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.

The price of Bitcoin has rallied by 60 percent to $52,000 this year alone. While Ethereum has risen by over 660 percent in 2021.

 

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