Oil prices drop almost 1% on concerns US recession may be looming

A potential US recession weighed on crude prices. Above, a refinery near the Corpus Christi ship channel in Corpus Christi, Texas. (AFP)
Updated 25 March 2019
0

Oil prices drop almost 1% on concerns US recession may be looming

  • Concerns about a potential US recession resurfaced late last week after bearish remarks by the US Federal Reserve
  • Ten-year treasury yields slipped below the three-month rate for the first time since 2007

SINGAPORE: Oil prices dropped by almost 1 percent on Monday, with concerns recession could be looming outweighing supply disruptions from OPEC’s production cutbacks and from US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.
Brent crude oil futures were at $66.56 per barrel at 0410 GMT, down 47 cents, or 0.7 percent, from their last close.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $58.52 per barrel, down 52 cents, or 0.9 percent, from their previous settlement.
Both crude oil price benchmarks have slumped by more than 3 percent since last week hitting their highest since November 2018.
Concerns about a potential US recession resurfaced late last week after bearish remarks by the US Federal Reserve, with 10-year treasury yields slipping below the three-month rate for the first time since 2007.
Historically, an inverted yield curve — where long-term rates fall below short-term — has signaled an upcoming recession.
Adding to the fears of a more widespread global downturn, manufacturing output data from Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, shrunk for the third straight month.
“Estimates for growth and earnings have been revised down materially across all major regions,” said US bank Morgan Stanley.
ANZ bank said the darkening economic outlook “overshadowed the supply-side issues” the oil market was facing amid supply cuts led by producer club OPEC as well as the US sanctions on Venezuela and Iran.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-affiliated allies such as Russia, together referred to as ‘OPEC+’, have pledged to withhold around 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil supply this year to prop up markets, with OPEC’s de-facto leader seen to be pushing for a crude price of over $70 per barrel.


Fraudsters exploit interest in Libra digital currency

Updated 23 July 2019
0

Fraudsters exploit interest in Libra digital currency

  • Fake Libra opportunities or offerings have popped up on Facebook and Instagram
  • Criminals routinely seize on hot topics to try to dupe people online

SAN FRANCISCO: Fraudsters are out to cash in on interest in Facebook-backed digital currency Libra, hawking bogus buying opportunities at online venues including the social network itself.
Libra is to launch next year, overseen by an association based in Europe, but as with other hot topics it has been seized on by nefarious characters intent on tricking people with false accounts, pages, and information.
Fake Libra opportunities or offerings have popped up on Facebook’s main social network and its image-centric online community Instagram, according to a report Monday in the Washington Post.
A number of Libra-themed deceptive accounts were removed from the Facebook platform after the California-based company was alerted by the Post, according to the publication.
Some of the fake accounts used the official Facebook logo and photos of chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.
“Facebook removes ads and Pages that violate our policies when we become aware of them, and we are constantly working to improve detection of scams on our platforms,” the Internet titan said in response to an AFP inquiry.
The Libra Association was reported to be working with Facebook to get deceptive pages about the currency deleted.
Criminals routinely seize on hot topics to try to dupe people online, from natural disasters and major tragedies to celebrity news.
A buylibracoins.com website accessible Monday offered a fake chance to buy the digital currency, encouraging potential victims to share contact details of friends in a referral program.
Fraudsters were said to be setting also hunting for victims at other online venues such as Twitter and YouTube.
The rise of fake Libra offerings comes as Facebook tries to dispel worries and build trust in what it hopes will be a global currency that gives life-changing financial tools to people around the world.
G7 finance ministers and central bankers last week dealt a blow to Facebook’s planned new cryptocurrency Libra, issuing a barrage of warnings about its dangers for the global economy at a two-day meeting outside Paris.
Facebook in June unveiled its plans for Libra in an announcement greeted with concern by governments and critics of the social network behemoth, whose reputation has already been tarnished by its role in spreading fake information and extremist videos.
Ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) major global economies “agreed that projects such as Libra may affect monetary sovereignty and the functioning of the international monetary system,” France, the current G7 chair, said in a statement.
It said projects like Libra with a “global and potentially systemic footprint... raise serious regulatory and systemic concerns, as well as wider policy issues, which both need to be addressed before such projects can be implemented.”
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said his concerns about Libra and other cryptocurrencies — which he had made clear in White House news conference this month — were shared by G7 counterparts.
Libra is widely regarded as a challenger to dominant global player bitcoin. Expected to launch in the first half of 2020, Libra is designed to be backed by a basket of currency assets to avoid the wild swings of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.