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Asia Stocks Look Past Russia Probe to U.S. Jobs



Asian Stocks
  • Asia Stocks Look Past Russia Probe to U.S. Jobs

Asian equity markets were mixed on Friday as investors awaiting the monthly U.S. jobs report for clues on interest rates largely shrugged off news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was said to have impaneled a grand jury in the ongoing Russia probe. The euro maintained gains against the dollar.

Benchmark gauges fell in Japan and Australia, while South Korea’s Kospi index rose after plunging on Thursday. Australian government bonds yields slid in line with the slump in Treasury and bund yields on the news out of Washington where Mueller is probing Russia’s interference in 2016 U.S. elections as well as possible collusion with the Trump campaign. The yen held gains, weighing on stocks in Tokyo.

Geopolitics took center stage again ahead of the closely watched U.S. employment report that may provide clues on the strength of the world’s largest economy and the Federal Reserve’s next policy move.

A largely expectation-topping earnings seasons rolls on. Toyota Motor Corp., among the largest companies to update investors, raised its profit forecast after the Tokyo market closed as the yen weakened and on a rebound in U.S. sales.

The U.S. jobs report for July may show the economy is on a steady trajectory and the labor market is staying tight, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. Consensus expects an increase of 180,000 in non-farm payrolls, after a gain of 222,000 in June, and a decline in unemployment to 4.3 percent from 4.4 percent. The data will also signal if income gains are enough to keep consumer spending ticking.

The Australian dollar tested the session’s low after the country’s central bank cut its growth forecast. The Reserve Bank of Australia lowered its forecast for economic growth by half a percentage point this year to 2 percent to 3 percent, and a quarter-point in the first half of next to 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent, saying in its quarterly monetary-policy statement that the Aussie dollar “had a modest dampening effect” on GDP growth.

Here are the main moves in markets:


  • Japan’s Topix index slid 0.2 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.3 percent. South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.5 percent after sliding 1.7 percent on Thursday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was little changed, while the Shanghai Composite Index swung between gains and losses.
  • Contracts on the Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.2 percent as of 7:30 a.m. in London.
  • Futures contracts on the S&P 500 Index were little changed. The main gauge lost 0.2 percent on Thursday.


  • The euro traded at $1.1878, on course for a fourth week of gains. The European currency has advanced as the dollar has come under pressure amid concerns about the Trump administration’s ability to carry out its economic policy agenda. Meanwhile,
    German factory orders jumped in June, indicating a pickup in momentum in Europe’s largest economy.
  • The Aussie fell as low as 79.34 U.S. cents before shrugging off the RBA report to rise 0.2 percent to 79.67. It’s set for its first weekly decline since the start of July. The central bank said the recent appreciation of the exchange rate has had a “modest dampening effect” on growth forecasts.
  • The yen was little changed against the dollar to 110.13.
  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was steady.


  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries held at 2.22 percent after declining five basis points on Thursday.
  • Yields on 10-year bunds were steady at 0.46 percent.
  • Ten-year yield on Australian government notes fell four basis points to 2.63 percent.


  • West Texas Intermediate crude extended losses, falling 0.4 percent to $48.84 after losing 1.1 percent in the previous session.
  • Gold was steady at $1,269.59 an ounce.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq,, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Crude Oil

Nigeria Pumps 236.2 Million Barrels in First Half of 2024



markets energies crude oil

Nigeria pumped 236.2 million barrels of crude oil in the first half of 2024, according to the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).

This figure represents an increase from the 219.5 million barrels produced during the same period in 2023.

In January, Nigeria produced 44.2 million barrels of crude oil while February saw a slight dip to 38.3 million barrels, with March following closely at 38.1 million barrels.

April and May production stood at 38.4 million barrels and 38.8 million barrels, respectively. June’s output remained consistent at 38.3 million barrels, demonstrating a stable production trend.

Despite the overall increase compared to 2023, the 2024 production figures still fall short of the 302.42 million barrels produced in the same period in 2020.

This ongoing fluctuation underscores the challenges facing Nigeria’s oil sector, which has experienced varying production levels over recent years.

On a daily basis, Nigeria’s crude oil production showed some variability. In January, the average daily production peaked at 1.43 million barrels per day (mbpd), the highest within the six-month period.

February’s production dropped to 1.32 mbpd, with a further decrease to 1.23 mbpd in March. April saw a modest increase to 1.28 mbpd, which then fell again to 1.25 mbpd in May. June ended on a positive note with a slight rise to 1.28 mbpd.

The fluctuations in daily production rates have prompted government and industry leaders to address underlying issues.

Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), has highlighted the detrimental effects of oil theft and vandalism on Nigeria’s production capabilities.

Kyari emphasized that addressing these security challenges is critical to boosting production and attracting investment.

Kyari also noted recent efforts to combat illegal activities, including the removal of over 5,800 illegal connections from pipelines and dismantling more than 6,000 illegal refineries.

He expressed confidence that these measures, combined with ongoing policy reforms, would support Nigeria’s goal of increasing daily production to two million barrels.

The Nigerian government remains focused on stabilizing and enhancing oil production. With recent efforts showing promising results, there is cautious optimism that Nigeria will achieve its production targets.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Steady Amid Mixed Signals on Crude Demand



Crude oil

Oil prices remained stable on Thursday as investors navigated conflicting signals regarding crude demand.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, settled at $85.11 a barrel, edging up by 3 cents, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dipped by 3 cents to $82.82 a barrel.

The stability comes as the U.S. economy shows signs of slowing, with unemployment benefit applications rising more than expected.

Initial claims increased by 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 243,000 for the week ending July 1, prompting speculation that the Federal Reserve might cut interest rates sooner than anticipated. Lower rates could boost spending on oil, creating a bullish outlook for demand.

Fed officials suggested that improved inflation and a balanced labor market might lead to rate cuts, possibly by September.

“Healthy expectations of a Fed rate cut in the not-so-distant future will limit downside,” noted Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM.

However, rising jobless claims signal potential economic easing, which could dampen crude demand.

John Kilduff of Again Capital highlighted the impact of a slowing economy on oil consumption despite a significant drop in U.S. crude inventories last week.

Global factors also weighed on the market. China’s economic policies remain steady, though details are sparse, affecting investor sentiment in the world’s largest crude importer.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank maintained interest rates, citing persistent inflation.

An upcoming OPEC+ meeting in August is expected to assess market conditions without altering output policy, according to sources. This meeting will serve as a “pulse check” for market health.

Overall, oil prices are caught between economic concerns and hopes of a rate cut, maintaining a delicate balance.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Slide on China Demand Concerns, Brent Falls to $83.73



Crude Oil - Investors King

Oil prices declined on Tuesday for the third consecutive day on growing concerns over a slowing Chinese economy and its impact on global oil demand.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dipped by $1.12, or 1.3% at $83.73 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped $1.15, or 1.4%, to close at $80.76.

The dip in oil prices is largely attributed to disappointing economic data from China, the world’s second-largest economy.

Official figures revealed a 4.7% growth in China’s GDP for the April-June period, the slowest since the first quarter of 2023, and below the forecasted 5.1% growth expected in a Reuters poll.

This slowdown was compounded by a protracted property downturn and widespread job insecurity, which have dampened fuel demand and led many Chinese refineries to cut back on production.

“Weaker economic data continues to flow from China as continued government support programs have been disappointing,” said Dennis Kissler, Senior Vice President of Trading at BOK Financial. “Many of China’s refineries are cutting back on weaker fuel demand.”

Despite the bearish sentiment from China, there is a growing consensus among market participants that the U.S. Federal Reserve could begin cutting its key interest rates as soon as September.

This speculation has helped stem the decline in oil prices, as lower interest rates reduce the cost of borrowing, potentially boosting economic activity and oil demand.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell noted on Monday that the three U.S. inflation readings over the second quarter “add somewhat to confidence” that the pace of price increases is returning to the central bank’s target in a sustainable fashion.

This has led market participants to believe that a turn to interest rate cuts may be imminent.

Also, U.S. crude oil inventories provided a silver lining for the oil market. According to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures, U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 4.4 million barrels last week.

This was a much steeper drop than the 33,000 barrels decline that was anticipated, indicating strong domestic demand.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also weighed in, suggesting that while the global economy is set for modest growth over the next two years, risks remain.

The IMF noted cooling activity in the U.S., a bottoming-out in Europe, and stronger consumption and exports for China as key factors in the global economic landscape.

In summary, while oil prices are currently pressured by concerns over China’s economic slowdown, the potential for U.S. interest rate cuts and stronger domestic demand for crude are providing some support.

Market watchers will continue to monitor economic indicators and inventory levels closely as they gauge the future direction of oil prices.

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