- Asia Stocks Slump as China Shares Drop, Yen Gains
Asian stocks fell as Chinese shares slumped and the yen weighed on Japanese equities. Treasuries climbed amid increasing caution about geopolitical risks and the path of U.S. interest rates.
Chinese equities traded in Hong Kong fell toward a one-month low. Shares in Seoul extended the longest losing streak since June as tensions over both Syria and North Korea remain in focus. U.S. bond yields added to declines after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen confirmed that the central bank has shifted its focus to sustaining economic gains from post-crisis healing. Oil was steady after a five-day rally, its longest stretch this year.
The White House press secretary warned Syria to stop using barrel bombs against civilians, suggesting President Donald Trump may expand the criteria for action against Bashar al-Assad’s regime after last week’s missile attack on a Syrian airbase. South Korean assets have sold off amid speculation the U.S. could make a similarly aggressive pivot when it comes to Pyongyang.
Investors are also speculating on the path for interest rates, after Friday’s weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs report. The Fed is aiming to ease back significantly this year on the level of support the central bank is providing the U.S. economy as they close in on their goals of full employment and 2 percent inflation.
“Before, we had to press down on the gas pedal trying to give the economy all of the oomph that we possibly could,” Yellen said Monday in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Fed is now trying to “give it some gas, but not so much that we’re pushing down hard on the accelerator.”
What investors are watching:
- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Moscow this week in an effort to persuade Russia that its alliance with Assad is no longer in its strategic interest. He will also press the country to uphold an agreement it brokered during the Obama administration to remove all chemical weapons from Syria.
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari will participate in a Q&A at a meeting of the Minnesota Business Partnership.
- The G-7 foreign ministers hold a news conference after a two-day meeting in Lucca, Italy.
Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts
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.”
Gold Hits Eight-Month Low as Global Optimism Grows Amid Rising Demand for Bitcoin
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.
Oil Prices Extend Gains to $64.32 Ahead of OPEC+ Meeting
Oil Prices Rise to $64.32 Amid Expected Output Extension
Oil prices extended gains during the early hours of Thursday trading session amid the possibility that OPEC+ producers might not increase output at a key meeting scheduled for later in the day and the drop in U.S refining.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria oil is priced, gained 0.4 percent or 27 cents to $64.32 per barrel as at 7:32 am Nigerian time on Thursday. While the U.S West Texas Intermediate gained 19 cents or 0.3 percent to $61.47 a barrel.
“Prices hinge on Russia’s and Saudi Arabia’s preference to add more crude oil production,” said Stephen Innes, global market strategist at Axi. “Perhaps more interesting is the lack of U.S. shale response to the higher crude oil prices, which is favourable for higher prices.”
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, together known as OPEC+, are looking to extend production cuts into April against expected output increase due to the fragile state of the global oil market.
Oil traders and businesses had been expecting the oil cartel to ease production by around 500,000 barrels per day since January 2021 but because of the coronavirus risk and rising global uncertainties, OPEC+ was forced to role-over production cuts until March. Experts now expect that this could be extended to April given the global situation.
“OPEC+ is currently meeting to discuss its current supply agreement. This raised the spectre of a rollover in supply cuts, which also buoyed the market,” ANZ said in a report.
Meanwhile, U.S crude oil inventories rose by more than a record 21 million barrels last week as refining plunged to a record-low amid Texas weather that knocked out power from homes.
News3 weeks ago
Doctors Warn Covid Will Become Endemic and People Need to Learn to Live With it
Bitcoin2 weeks ago
Bitcoin Surges Above $50,000 Per Coin on Tuesday, Sets a New All-Time High
News2 weeks ago
U.S. COVID-19 Deaths Hit 500,000
Bitcoin1 week ago
Bitcoin Rebounds To $50,881 Per Coin on Wednesday
Economy2 weeks ago
Petrol Subsidy May Hit N11.2bn Per Week
Economy3 weeks ago
Petrol Landing Cost Rises to N180, Oil Crosses $60
Cryptocurrency4 weeks ago
Why CBN Bans Banks from Facilitating Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Banking Sector2 weeks ago
Banks Turning Female Marketers to Sexual Slaves – Senator