- Asian Shares Rise as Upbeat U.S. Jobs Data Offsets Trade Worries
Asian shares rose to their highest in two-and-a-half-weeks on Monday as strong U.S. jobs data offset worries that tariff wars between the United States and the rest of the world could retard global economic growth.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 1.0 percent to a high last seen on May 17, while Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.3 percent.
Tech names such as Tencent and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing were among the biggest gainers.
European stocks are seen rising, with spread-betters expecting Britain’s FTSE and Germany’s Dax to gain 0.3 percent and France’s Cac 0.4 percent.
On Wall Street on Friday, U.S. tech shares soared, pushing up the Nasdaq Composite 1.51 percent to 7,554 points, near its record closing high of 7,588 struck in March.
In contrast, the S&P 500, which rose 1.08 percent on Friday, was still about 140 points off a record peak of 2,872 set in January due to concerns over trade frictions.
Finance leaders of the closest U.S. allies vented anger over the Trump administration’s metal import tariffs on Saturday, setting the tone for a heated G7 summit next week in Quebec.
In a rare show of division among the normally harmonious club of wealthy nations, six G7 member countries issued a statement asking U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to convey their “unanimous concern and disappointment” to President Donald Trump.
“The G7 is showing more divisions than unity, to the point where one has to wonder whether it is worth holding meetings,” said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
“The G7 summit this weekend could be equally terrible. There’s even talk that Trump may not go. Concerns on trade frictions are likely to continue to weigh on markets,” he added.
There appears to have been no major break-through on trade disputes after U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross met Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, either.
China warned the United States on Sunday that any agreements reached on trade and business between the two countries will be void if Washington implements tariffs and other trade measures, as the two ended their latest round of talks in Beijing.
Still, the U.S. economy’s current strength kept bears at bay for the moment.
Data released on Friday showed U.S. job growth accelerated in May and the unemployment rate dropped to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent, indicating a rapidly tightening labour market, which could eventually fuel inflation.
“We had strong headline figures on employment but rise in wages was still well-contained and did not point to a sharp acceleration in inflation,” Hirokazu Kabeya, chief global strategist at Daiwa Securities.
Average hourly earnings rose eight cents, or 0.3 percent last month after edging up 0.1 percent in April. That pushed the annual increase in average hourly earnings to 2.7 percent from 2.6 percent in April.
The strong employment report added to a string of upbeat economic data, including consumer spending, industrial production and construction spending.
They have suggested economic growth was regaining speed early in the second quarter after expanding at a moderate 2.2 percent annualised rate in the January-March period.
Given the strength, the Federal Reserve is all but certain to raise interest rates at its policy meeting next week.
That supported the dollar against other currencies.
The U.S. currency traded at 109.50 yen, having gained 0.6 percent on Friday, extending its rebound from Tuesday’s low of 108.115, its lowest level in over five weeks.
The euro traded at $1.1665, off Thursday’s high of $1.1725. Still, it kept some distance from Tuesday’s 10-month low of $1.1510 as concerns over Italy’s political crisis have eased.
U.S. crude futures fell as low as $65.51 per barrel on Friday, touching their lowest level in almost two months. Rising U.S. crude production and a glut trapped inland due to a lack of pipeline capacity have pressured prices.
U.S. crude futures last traded at $65.71, down 0.15 percent. Global benchmark Brent was down 0.44 percent, at $76.45.
SEC To Ban Unregistered CMOs From Operating By Month End
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says it will stop operations of Capital Market Operators (CMOs) that are yet to renew their registration on May 31, 2021.
This was contained in a circular signed by the management of SEC in Abuja on Monday.
On March 23, SEC had informed the general public and CMOs on the reintroduction of the periodic renewal of registration by operators.
The commission noted that the reintroduction of the registration renewal was due to the need to have a reliable data bank of all the CMOs registered and active in the country’s capital market.
“To provide updated information on operators in the Nigerian Capital Market for reference and other official purposes by local and foreign investors, other regulatory agencies and the general public, to increasingly reduce incidences of unethical practices by CMOs such as may affect investors’ confidence and impact negatively on the Nigerian Capital Market and to strengthen supervision and monitoring of CMOs by the Commission,” SEC explained.
According to the circular, the commission said CMOs yet to renew their registration at the expiration of late filing on May 31, would not be eligible to operate in the capital market.
It explained that CMOs were required to have completed the renewal process on or before April 30, however, the commission said late filing for renewal of registration would only be entertained from May 1 to May 31.
SEC also said that asides from barring the CMOs who failed to comply accordingly, their names would be published on its website and national dailies.
It added that names of eligible CMOs would be communicated to the relevant securities exchanges and trade associations.
A Threat to Revenue As Nigeria’s Largest Importer of Crude, India slash Imports By $39.5B
Nigeria’s revenue earning capacity has come under threat following the reduction of importation of crude oil by India.
India, Nigeria’s largest crude oil importer, reduced crude oil imports by $39.5bn in April, compared to the same time the previous year, data from India’s Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell showed.
According to the Indian High Commission in Nigeria, India’s crude oil imports from Nigeria in 2020 amounted to $10.03bn.
This represented 17 percent of Nigeria’s total crude exports for the year according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, as quoted by OilPrice.com.
As Nigeria’s largest importer of crude oil, lockdowns in India’s major cities from the COVID-19 surge in April had ripple effects on Nigeria’s oil sales.
The NNPC was prompted to drop the official standard price of its main export streams, Bonny Light, Brass River, Erha, and Qua Iboe, by 61-62 cents per barrel below its April 2021 prices. They traded at $0.9, $0.8, $0.65, $0.97 per barrel respectively, below dated Brent, the international benchmark, as Oilprice.com showed.
India had been buying the not-too-light and not-too-heavy Nigerian crudes that suited its refiners.
Reuters reported that the Indian Oil Corporation’s owned refineries were operating at 95 percent capacity in April, down from 100 percent at the same time the previous month.
An official at the IOC was quoted as saying, “If cases continue to rise and curbs are intensified, we may see cuts in refinery runs and lower demand after a month.” Hundreds of seafarers risked being stuck at sea beyond the expiry of their contracts, a large independent crude ship owner reportedly told Bloomberg.
India reportedly bought more American and Canadian oil at the expense of Africa and the Middle East, reducing purchases from members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to around 2.86 million barrels per day.
This squeezed the group’s share of imports to 72 percent from around 80 percent previously, as India’s refiners were diversifying purchases to boost margins, according to Reuters.
India also plans to increase local crude oil production and reduce import expenses as its population swells, according to Bloomberg.
A deregulation plan by the Narendra Modi-led government to boost national production to 40 million tonnes of crude oil by 2023/2024, an increase of almost eight million tonnes, had already been initiated.
According to Business Today, an Indian paper, the country currently imports 82 percent of its oil needs, which amounted to $87bn in 2019.
Invest Africa and DLA Piper Partner to Support ESG Best Practice in African Renewable Energy Projects
The global law firm, DLA Piper, has partnered with Invest Africa, the leading trade and investment platform for African markets, to support the development of ESG best practice in African renewable energy projects.
Clear Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) targets and measurements have become an increasingly important part of fundraising as investors seek to align their portfolios with sustainable growth. For a continent boasting ample natural resources, this presents a significant opportunity for Africa’s green energy sector. However, renewable does not always equal sustainable and developing and articulating ESG metrics can pose a significant challenge to projects as they prepare investment rounds.
The project will assemble experts from the worlds of impact investment, development finance and law. Across a series of online meetings, participants will discuss strategies to improve ESG practices in African renewable projects from both a fundraising and operational perspective.
Amongst those speaking in the inaugural session on Thursday 13th May are Cathy Oxby, Chief Commercial Officer, Africa Greenco, Dr. Valeria Biurrun-Zaumm, Senior Investment Manager, DEG, Orli Arav, Managing Director – Facility For Energy Inclusion (FEI) – Lion’s Head Global Partners, Beatrice Nyabira, Partner, DLA Piper Africa, Kenya (IKM Advocates) and Natasha Luther-Jones, Partner, Global Co-Chair of Energy and Natural Resources, International Co-Head, Sustainability and ESG, DLA Piper.
Veronica Bolton-Smith, COO of Invest Africa said, “Africa is particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change despite contributing very little to global emissions. As the price of renewables fall, they will form an ever more important part of Africa’s electrification. In this context, it is essential that projects be given the tools to apply best practice in ESG not only from an environmental perspective but also in terms of good governance, fair working conditions and contribution to social inclusion. I look forward to working closely with DLA Piper on this important topic.”
Natasha Luther-Jones, Global Co-Chair Energy and Natural Resources and International Co-Head Sustainability and ESG at DLA Piper also commented, “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges companies, and people, face today and when we look at its reduction – whether that be in how we power our devices, what we eat or how we dress, where we live or how we work – all roads come back to the need to increase the amount of accessible, and affordable, clean energy. However, renewable energy companies are not automatically sustainable as sustainability is a focus on all ESG factors, not just environmental. We know the need for renewable energy is only going to continue to rise, and therefore so will the number and size of renewable energy companies. The additional challenge is to make sure they are truly sustainable organisations and that’s what we’re excited about discussing during the webinar.”
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