Oil prices up, Asian shares fall, trading muted with Good Friday holidays

Oil prices up, Asian shares fall, trading muted with Good Friday holidays
Benchmarks declined in Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai. Sydney, Manila, Bangkok and Hong Kong were among markets observing holidays on Friday. US and European markets also were closed. (File/AFP)
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Updated 15 April 2022

Oil prices up, Asian shares fall, trading muted with Good Friday holidays

Oil prices up, Asian shares fall, trading muted with Good Friday holidays

TOKYO: Asian shares fell in muted trading as markets were closed for Good Friday and other holidays.

Benchmark US crude oil for May delivery rose $2.70 to $106.95 a barrel Thursday. Brent crude for June delivery rose $2.92 to $111.70 a barrel.
Wholesale gasoline for May delivery rose 9 cents to $3.38 a gallon. May heating oil rose 13 cents to $3.85 a gallon. May natural gas rose 30 cents to $7.30 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold for June delivery fell $9.80 to $1,974.90 an ounce. Silver for May delivery fell 33 cents to $25.70 an ounce and May copper rose 1 cent to $4.72 a pound.
Benchmarks declined in Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai. Sydney, Manila, Bangkok and Hong Kong were among markets observing holidays on Friday. US and European markets also were closed.
Shutdowns in major Chinese cities due to coronavirus outbreaks and the war in Ukraine are weighing on sentiment.
“The Russia-Ukraine conflict inflation effects are now more meaningful than direct military developments in a market sense. These consequences have fabricated an uncertain environment that could keep investors wary,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a commentary.
“It should be a quiet session given the Good Friday holidays,” he added.
The head of the International Monetary Fund warned Thursday that Russia’s war against Ukraine was darkening the outlook for most countries and reaffirmed the danger high inflation presents to the global economy.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.3 percent to finish at 27,093.19. South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.8 percent to 2,696.06. The Shanghai Composite lost 0.5 percent to 3,211.24.
Stocks closed lower on Wall Street on Thursday as investors gave mixed reviews to earnings from four of the nation’s largest banks. The S&P 500 fell 1.2 percent to 4,392.59, ending a shortened trading week with a 2.1 percent decline.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.3 percent to 34,451.23. The Nasdaq fell 2.1 percent to 13,351.08. Smaller company stocks also lost ground. The Russell 2000 fell 1 percent to 2,004.98.
A quartet of big banks reported noticeable declines in their first-quarter profits as the latest earnings season kicks into gear. Volatile markets and the war in Ukraine caused deal-making to dry up while a slowdown in the housing market meant fewer people sought mortgages.
Citigroup rose 1.6 percent while Wells Fargo fell 4.5 percent. Morgan Stanley rose 0.7 percent and Goldman Sachs slipped 0.1 percent.
Bond yields rose again, sending the 10-year Treasury yield to 2.83 percent.
“With higher oil prices, higher bond yields, (it) implies the market continues to worry about inflation, worried about Ukraine, worried about the Fed’s response to all of this,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA.
Technology stocks led the way lower Thursday, offsetting gains elsewhere in the market. Pricey valuations for many of the bigger technology companies give them more sway in directing the broader market higher or lower. Microsoft fell 2.7 percent.
Retailers and other companies that rely on consumer spending also weighed on the market. Amazon fell 2.5 percent. Energy stocks rose along with the price of crude oil. Exxon Mobil rose 1.2 percent.
Investors again turned their attention to the drama surrounding Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk and Twitter. Musk offered to buy the social media company for $54.20 a share, two weeks after revealing he’d accumulated a 9 percent stake.
Musk has criticized Twitter for not living up to free speech principles and said, in a regulatory filing, that it needs to be transformed as a private company. Twitter’s stock fell 1.7 percent at $45.08, well below Musk’s offering price.
Wall Street had mixed economic data to review following several hot inflation reports earlier in the week. The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.5 percent in March, boosted by higher prices for gasoline, as consumers continue to spend despite high inflation.
The number of people seeking unemployment benefits ticked up last week, according to the Labor Department, but remained at a historically low level. The data reflect a robust US labor market with near record-high job openings and few layoffs.
Inflation remains at its highest levels in 40 years in the US and that has economists and analysts closely watching how consumers react to higher prices on everything from food to clothing and gasoline.
In energy trading, benchmark US crude added $2.70 to $106.95 a barrel on Thursday, closing nearly 11 percent higher for the week. Brent crude, the international standard, gained $2.92 to $111.70 a barrel. Markets were closed Friday.
In currency trading, the US dollar rose to 126.65 Japanese yen from 125.89 yen. It is hovering near 20-year highs. The euro cost $1.0815, down from $1.0832.


PIF launches new aircraft leasing company

PIF launches new aircraft leasing company
Updated 12 sec ago

PIF launches new aircraft leasing company

PIF launches new aircraft leasing company

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has launched an aircraft leasing company named AviLease, according to a statement.

PIF said AviLease will initially focus on scaling through purchase-and-lease-back transactions with airlines, portfolio acquisitions and direct orders from aircraft manufacturers.

PIF added that AviLease will also look into expansions through corporate acquisitions.

AviLease’s fleet will consist of narrow-body and wide-body aircraft developed by the world’s leading manufacturers.

“As a PIF fully owned company, PIF’s ample liquidity and strong balance sheet, combined with its depth of financing and investment-structuring expertise will help the company leverage the opportunity in the aircraft leasing market,” according to PIF.

In the statement, PIF revealed that its Assets under Management had reached approximately $620 billion.

 


Dubai’s real estate sector most transparent in MENA: JLL Index

Dubai’s real estate sector most transparent in MENA: JLL Index
Updated 13 min 55 sec ago

Dubai’s real estate sector most transparent in MENA: JLL Index

Dubai’s real estate sector most transparent in MENA: JLL Index

DUBAI: The real estate sector in Dubai has been named the most transparent in the Middle East and North Africa region, according to JLL’s latest Global Real Estate Transparency Index, also known as GRETI.

This is for the first time that Dubai’s real estate sector is entering the transparent tier, and is the only city in the region to enter the list.

“The government’s ongoing efforts that are driving digital services and data provisions, new regulations and sustainability reporting have helped advance Dubai’s ranking in this year’s Global Real Estate Transparency Index, which is an important guide used for cross-border investment and corporate occupiers to inform their decision making,” said Sultan Butti bin Mejren, director general of Dubai Land Department.

In the overall global list, Dubai is placed 31st on the overall global list, while Saudi Arabia ranked  49th, which indicates a semi-transparent market.

“The Kingdom scored particularly well in the category of Listed Vehicles’ Corporate Governance transparency. KSA also scored well on its Investment Performance transparency,” said JLL in a statement.

Abu Dhabi which ranked 45th globally gained one rank and maintained its position in the “Semi-Transparent” tier.

The UK ranked first in the list of 99 countries, followed by the US, France, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Germany, and New Zealand.

China is placed 30th on the list, while India is on the 36th spot.

According to the report, ranks until 34 come under the transparent tier, while 35th to 56th are considered semi-transparent. 

 


Retail major Alhokair back to profit as sales soar to $1.6bn post-pandemic

Retail major Alhokair back to profit as sales soar to $1.6bn post-pandemic
Updated 25 min 4 sec ago

Retail major Alhokair back to profit as sales soar to $1.6bn post-pandemic

Retail major Alhokair back to profit as sales soar to $1.6bn post-pandemic

RIYADH: Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co. has turned into profit in its fiscal year ended March 31, supported by a post-pandemic rebound in sales.

The Saudi retailer made SR38 million ($10 million) in profit, after erasing losses of SR1.11 billion from a year earlier, according to a bourse filing.

The profit hike was coupled with a 40-percent rise in revenue due to a gradual ease of COVID-19 restrictions which led to a recovery in trading activity and consumer spending.

Revenues reached as high as SR5.9 billion by the end of the fiscal year.

“The robust results are supported by the trading activity returning to pre-pandemic levels, the successful execution of the operational upgrade strategy, and the strength of our teams across the business,” said interim CEO Mohamad Mourad, commenting on the results.

Based on the strong foundation set during the past year and the positive momentum in key markets, he said the company expects to build on its growth trajectory to deliver a credible performance in the fiscal year 2023.


Biden says will see Saudi’s crown prince, won’t push directly on oil

Biden says will see Saudi’s crown prince, won’t push directly on oil
Updated 43 min 13 sec ago

Biden says will see Saudi’s crown prince, won’t push directly on oil

Biden says will see Saudi’s crown prince, won’t push directly on oil

MADRID: US President Joe Biden on Thursday said he would see Saudi Arabia’s king and crown prince during a visit to the country next month but that the purpose of his trip was not to press them to increase oil output.

Asked at a press conference in Spain if he would ask the Saudi leaders to increase oil production, Biden said “No.”

He said he had indicated that all the Gulf states should be increasing oil production generically, not Saudi Arabia particularly.

He said he hoped the countries would conclude that it was in their own interest to do so.

His comments came as The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, agreed on Thursday to stick to earlier approved oil output increases in July and August and refrained from any policy discussions for September.

The decision to stick to the planned increases comes despite calls for bigger increases to tame crude prices.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated concerns about oil supplies, sending prices to record highs this year.

In their monthly video conference, which lasted about an hour, the 23 members of OPEC+ agreed to add another 648,000 barrels per day in August, the same as for July.


Macro Snapshot — Eurozone unemployment falls to record low; UK balance of payments deficit balloons

Macro Snapshot — Eurozone unemployment falls to record low; UK balance of payments deficit balloons
Updated 57 min 15 sec ago

Macro Snapshot — Eurozone unemployment falls to record low; UK balance of payments deficit balloons

Macro Snapshot — Eurozone unemployment falls to record low; UK balance of payments deficit balloons

RIYADH: Eurozone unemployment fell to a record low in May as the economy continued to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EU’s statistics office Eurostat said on Thursday that unemployment in the 19 countries sharing the euro fell to 6.6 percent of the workforce in May from a revised 6.7 percent in April.

The 6.6 percent rate is the lowest rate since records dating back to 1998, just before the official launch of the euro in January 1999.

UK balance of payments 

Britain racked up a record shortfall in its current account in early 2022, in part due to the soaring cost of its fuel imports, according to data that officials cautioned could be revised.

The balance of payments deficit — a measure of how much the country relies on money from abroad — ballooned to £51.7 billion ($62.8 billion) or 8.3 percent of gross domestic product between January and March.

Data from the Office for National Statistics also showed the increasing strain on households as their real disposable income shrank for the longest period on record.

Portugal’s inflation rise 

Portuguese consumer prices jumped 8.7 percent year-on-year in June, at their fastest pace since December 1992, up from 8 percent in May, flash data from the National Statistics Institute showed.

Core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, rose 6 percent year-on-year, the fastest rate since May 1994, up from 5.6 percent the previous month.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent pressure on energy and food markets has stoked inflation, which was already accelerating as the global economy reopened after the coronavirus pandemic

Hong Kong retail sales fall 

Hong Kong’s May retail sales fell 1.7 percent from a year earlier after a sharp increase the previous month, government data showed.

Sales eased to HK$29.1 billion ($3.71 billion), having jumped 11.7 percent in April. The government said that over April and May together there was a year-on-year increase of 4.7 percent.

(With input from Reuters)