Worldwide stocks start year on a high

Asian stocks hit new heights on Wednesday, according to MSCI'S index of global markets. (Reuters)
Updated 03 January 2018
0

Worldwide stocks start year on a high

LONDON: Worldwide stocks hit new highs on Wednesday as European markets continued a strong start to the year, suggesting 2018 will be another year of synchronized growth for global markets — led by a robust European economy.
MSCI’s index of global stocks, MIWD — which tracks shares across 47 countries, had jumped to its biggest one-day gain in more than two weeks on Tuesday, after having its best 12 months since 2009 in 2017.
The pan-European stock index sat 0.2 percent higher following considerable gains for their Asian and US counterparts overnight as manufacturing surveys pointed to a strong start for the European economy.
The single currency euro was holding steady near the four-month high of $1.2081 hit on Tuesday.
“Investors have woken up in the new year and looked forward to another firm year for global growth with very muted downside risk,” said Investec economist Philip Shaw. But he urged caution about getting too excited given we are only in the first two trading days of the new year.
“The converse is the sell-off in bond markets: the idea that inflation pressures may be firmer than expected and central banks could take a slightly more aggressive approach than previously thought,” Shaw added.
ECB rate-setter Ewald Nowotny told the German media that the European Central Bank (ECB) may end its stimulus program this year if the euro zone economy continues to grow strongly.
Earlier in the session, Asian stocks struck a range of new peaks: a record high for stocks in the Philippines, a 24-year top for Thailand and a decade-high for Hong Kong. MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan, MIAP, rose 0.4 percent, having jumped 1.4 percent on Tuesday in its best performance since last March.
This came after Wall Street started the new year as it ended the old, scoring another set of record closing peaks. The Dow .DJI rose 0.42 percent, while the S&P 500 .SPX gained 0.83 percent and the Nasdaq .IXIC 1.5 percent. The gains in riskier assets came as industry surveys from India to Germany to Canada showed quickening activity.
“The breadth of the recovery is extraordinary,” said Deutsche Bank macro strategist Alan Ruskin, noting that of 31 countries covered, only three failed to show growth while all the largest manufacturing sectors improved.
Oil prices surged again, inching toward two-and-a-half year highs hit on Tuesday as strong demand and ongoing efforts led by OPEC and Russia to curb production tightened the market. Brent crude futures LCOc1 was up 0.6 percent at $67 a barrel, while US crude futures CLc1 shot up 0.8 percent to $60.87 a barrel.


Oil theft ‘costing Libya over $750m annually’

Updated 19 April 2018
0

Oil theft ‘costing Libya over $750m annually’

  • Libya’s oil sector collapsed in the wake of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
  • The recovery of oil production and exports is key to restoring Libya’s economy.

Tripoli: Fuel smuggling is costing Libya more than $750 million each year and harming its economy and society, the head of the National Oil Company in the conflict-riddled country said.
“The impact of fuel smuggling is destroying the fabric of the country,” NOC president Mustafa Sanalla said according to the text of a speech delivered on Wednesday at a conference on oil and fuel theft in Geneva.
“The fuel smugglers and thieves have permeated not only the militias which control much of Libya, but also the fuel distribution companies which are supposed to bring cheap fuel to Libyan citizens,” he said.
“The huge sums of money available from smuggling have corrupted large parts of Libyan society,” he added.
The backbone of the North African country’s economy, Libya’s oil sector collapsed in the wake of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
Before the revolt Libya, with estimated oil reserves of 48 billion barrels, used to produce 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd).
But output fell to less than 500,000 bpd between 2014 and 2016 due to violence around production facilities and export terminals as rival militias fought for control of Africa’s largest crude reserves.
No oil was exported from Libya’s main ports until September 2016 with the reopening of the Ras Lanuf terminal in the country’s so-called oil crescent.
The recovery of oil production and exports is key to restoring Libya’s moribund economy.
Sanalla urged Libya’s “friends, neighbors but above all the Libyan people themselves... to do everything they can... to eradicate the scourge of fuel theft and fuel smuggling.”