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Stocks Bounce and Havens Drop as Korea Fears Abate



  • Stocks Bounce and Havens Drop as Korea Fears Abate

The risk-off mood that gripped markets last week showed signs of easing, with shares in Europe following Asian equities higher and American stock futures advancing as the prospect of a war between the U.S. and North Korea receded. Havens including gold, Treasuries and the yen fell.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index headed for its first gain in four days, tracking increases across markets including South Korea, Australia and Hong Kong after U.S. officials moved to tamp down fears of imminent war with North Korea. Japanese equities bucked the trend as traders returned after a holiday. Core European government bonds followed Treasuries lower. Bitcoin posted yet another surge.

Volatility gauges jumped last week and risk assets tumbled as the sudden increase in tension around the Korean peninsula jolted markets globally. The reaction was exacerbated by the rich valuations on display across multiple assets, many of which had barely corrected this year.

Meanwhile, there was a mixed bag of data out of Asia on Monday. Japan’s second-quarter growth topped estimates, reflecting better domestic demand. China’s economy posted its worst showing this year as curbs on property, excess borrowing and industrial overcapacity began to have an impact.


  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 0.8 percent as of 9:33 a.m. in London, the largest climb in more than a week on a closing basis.
  • The MSCI All-Country World Index gained 0.2 percent, the first advance in a week.
  • The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index jumped 0.5 percent, the largest climb in more than a week.
  • Germany’s DAX Index increased 1 percent, the biggest climb in more than a week.
  • Futures on the S&P 500 Index jumped 0.6 percent, the largest climb in more than a month.


  • The euro declined 0.2 percent to $1.1799.
  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index increased 0.3 percent, the largest climb in more than a week.
  • The British pound fell 0.2 percent to $1.2984.


  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries gained three basis points to 2.22 percent.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield climbed five basis points to 0.43 percent.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield rose three basis points to 1.084 percent.


  • Gold dipped 0.6 percent to $1,281.83 an ounce, the first retreat in a week.
  • West Texas Intermediate crude declined 0.5 percent to $48.59 a barrel, the lowest in almost three weeks.


  • Japan’s Topix index finished 1.1 percent lower. South Korea’s Kospi index advanced 0.6 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.7 percent. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index gained 1.4 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.9 percent.
  • The Japanese yen dipped 0.5 percent to 109.77 per dollar, the first retreat in a week.

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

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Crude Oil

South Africa’s iGas, PetroSA and Strategic Fuel Fund Merge to Create South African National Petroleum Company



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The South African Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has announced the merger of Central Energy Fund (CEF) subsidiaries iGas, PetroSA and the Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF).

The merger will be effective from 1 April 2021 and the new company will be called the South African National Petroleum Company.

The merger, driven by the pursuit of implementing a new company that has a streamlined operating model via the development of a shared services system and a common information platform, comes a few months after cabinet approval and the confirmation that PetroSA had incurred losses of R20 billion since 2014.

Additional factors which prompted the move included the determination to strengthen PetroSA which had not had a permanent CEO in five years prior to the appointment of CEO Ishmael Poolo last and, had become majorly ungainful since its failure to secure gas for the gas-to-liquids refinery project in Mossel Bay.

While the merger deadline has been set, the portfolio committee expressed reservations to the department’s likelihood of meeting the deadline, considering the existing legislative regime, pending issues raised in the SFF and PetroSA forensic reports, as well as PetroSA’s current insolvency and liquidity challenges, the official press statement on the briefing revealed.

“South Africa’s energy sector is entering a new dawn,” said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber. “With gas discoveries off the coast and the announcement of the REIPPP programme bid window 5 and 6 on the horizon, now is the most opportune time for the merger of the CEF subsidiaries. Of course, it is not an easy task and delays may be anticipated but, this move signals a real change towards a meaningful strategy that will not only be beneficial to the DMRE but to potential investors and local development as well.”

The African Energy Chamber welcomes this move and acknowledges that this is yet another step supporting the country’s determination to restarting the engines of sustainable growth and the transformation of energy policy and infrastructure.

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Crude Oil

Crude Oil Hits $71.34 After Saudi Largest Oil Facilities Were Attacked




Brent Crude Oil Rises to $71.34 Following Missile Attack on Saudi Largest Oil Facilities

Brent crude, against which Nigerian oil is priced, jumped to $71.34 a barrel on Monday during the Asian trading session following a report that Saudi Arabia’s largest oil facilities were attacked by missiles and drones fired on Sunday by Houthi military in Yemen.

On Monday, the Saudi energy ministry said one of the world’s largest offshore oil loading facilities at Ras Tanura was attacked and a ballistic missile targeted Saudi Aramco facilities.

One of the petroleum tank areas at the Ras Tanura Port in the Eastern Region, one of the largest oil ports in the world, was attacked this morning by a drone, coming from the sea,” the ministry said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency.

It also stated that shrapnel from a ballistic missile dropped near Aramco’s residential compound in Eastern Dhahran.

Such acts of sabotage do not only target the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but also the security and stability of energy supplies to the world, and therefore, the global economy,” a ministry spokesman said in a statement on state media.

Oil price surged because the market interpreted the occurrence as supply sabotage given Saudi is the largest OPEC producer. A decline in supply is positive for the oil industry.

However, Brent crude oil pulled back to $69.49 per barrel at 12:34 pm Nigerian time because of the $1.9 trillion stimulus packed passed in the U.S.

Market experts are projecting that the stimulus will boost the United States economy and support U.S crude oil producers in the near-term, this they expect to boost crude oil production from share and disrupt OPEC strategy.

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Crude Oil

A Loud Blast Heard in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia’s Largest Crude Oil Production Site



Loud Blast Heard in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia’s Largest Crude Oil Production Site

Two residents from the eastern city of Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday said they heard a loud blast, but they are yet to know the cause, according to a Reuters report.

Saudi’s Eastern province is home to the kingdom’s largest crude oil production and export facilities of Saudi Aramco.

A blast in any of the facilities in that region could hurt global oil supplies and bolster oil prices above $70 per barrel in the first half of the year.

One of the residents said the explosion took place around 8:30 pm Saudi time while the other resident claimed the time was around 8:00 pm.

However, Saudi authorities are yet to confirm or respond to the story.


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