Shares slump as retail giants sound stagflation alarm

Shares slump as retail giants sound stagflation alarm
That 47-country index is now down almost 18 percent in what is its worst start to a year on recent record.
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Updated 19 May 2022

Shares slump as retail giants sound stagflation alarm

Shares slump as retail giants sound stagflation alarm
  • Bond markets rallied in the dive for safety and on bets that interest rate rises may get recalibrated

LONDON: Heavy falls in European and Asian stock markets followed Wall Street’s worst day since mid-2020 on Thursday, as stark warnings from some of the world’s biggest retailers underscored just how hard inflation is biting.

Bond markets rallied in the dive for safety and on bets that interest rate rises may get recalibrated, but it was the gloom striking down equities after Wednesday’s $25 billion wipeout in US retail giant Target’s shares that dominated the action.

Europe was down 2 percent by lunch, led by a 2.5 percent fall in its retail sector , while scarlet red US futures and a sharp overnight Chinese tech tumble pushed MSCI all-country world back toward 1-1/2 year lows.

That 47-country index is now down almost 18 percent in what is its worst start to a year on recent record.

“Target and Walmart coming out with disappointing numbers has really, really spooked people,” said Close Brothers Asset Management’s Chief Investment Officer Robert Alster.

“We are going to see a raft of downgrades to US GDP (forecasts) now... it really looks like we are running into a faster slowdown than we expected.”

The S&P 500 had lost 4 percent on Wednesday while the Nasdaq had fallen almost 5 percent as interest-rate sensitive megacap stocks Amazon, Nvidia and Tesla dropped close to 7 percent while Apple tumbled 5.6 percent.

Asia-Pacific shares ex-Japan then snapped four days of gains to wilt 1.8 percent, dragged down by a 1.65 percent loss for Australia’s resource-heavy index, a 2.5 percent drop in Hong Kong. Tokyo’s Nikkei shed 1.9 percent too.

Tech giants listed in Hong Kong were hit particularly hard, with the index falling nearly 4 percent. China’s online behemoth Tencent sank more than 6 percent after it reported no revenue growth in the first quarter, its worst performance since going public in 2004.

China’s technology and property sectors are still reeling from a year-long government crackdown and slowing economic prospects stemming from Beijing’s strict zero-COVID policy, even though soothing comments from Vice Premier Liu He to tech executives buoyed sentiment on Wednesday.

Central Focus
The focus remained on what central banks will now do as they walk the tightrope of trying to regain control of inflation, which is now at 40-year highs in some countries, without causing painful recessions.
“We will have to discuss what we can do together in our respective areas of responsibility to avoid stagflation scenarios,” German finance minister Christian Lindner said as he arrived for a two-day meeting of top central bankers near Bonn.
Two top US central bankers had said on Wednesday that they expect the Federal Reserve to downshift to a more measured pace of rate rises after July, but in Europe traders were suddenly pricing in as many as four ECB hikes. It hasn’t raised interest rates for a decade.
However, while things haven’t reached the point of no return, they are seemingly heading in the direction of “out of control. That is probably the most worrying part for the market,” said Hebe Chen, market analyst at IG.
In the currency markets, the US dollar eased back 0.3 percent against a basket of major currencies, after a 0.55 percent jump overnight that ended a three-day losing streak.
The euro gained 0.4 percent on the ECB rate rise view, while the Aussie dollar gained 0.8 percent and New Zealand’s kiwi dollar bounced 0.6 percent, helped by an easing of Shanghai’s COVID lockdown in China.
US Treasuries rallied overnight and were bright at 2.84 percent in Europe where the risk-adverse mood also saw Germany’s 10-year bond yield — which moves inverse to price — fall back below the closely watched 1 percent level.
Inflation worriers watched oil prices ease again too, as fears over slower economic growth and signs that Venezuelan oil might be coming back onto the market outweighed lingering fears over tight global supplies.
Brent crude went from $110.41 to $108.04 per barrel in London trading, while US crude dipped to $108.05 a barrel and gold, which has fallen more than 12 percent since March, clawed up to $1,830 an ounce.
(Additional reporting by Francesco Canepa in Koenigswinter, Germany, Stella Qiu in Beijing and Alun John in Hong Kong; Editing by Nick Macfie and Chizu Nomiyama)


New Saudi smart city ALNAMA to be zero-carbon

New Saudi smart city ALNAMA to be zero-carbon
Updated 14 sec ago

New Saudi smart city ALNAMA to be zero-carbon

New Saudi smart city ALNAMA to be zero-carbon

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s new ALNAMA smart city will be a zero-carbon community, according to the company charged with designing the development.

The hospitality hub, located on a 10 sq. km area in Riyadh, will create 10,000 jobs in various sectors, including green-tech industries to create a ‘green circular economy’, Construction Week reported. 

The project is planned to provide 11,000 residential units and an eventual population of 44,000 people.

ALNAMA will be designed by Dubai's URB, and the firm’s CEO Baharash Bagherian said: “ALNAMA aims to be the next generation of self-sufficient city, producing all the city’s renewable energy needs, as well as the resident’s caloric food intake on site.

“Biosaline agriculture, productive gardens, wadis, and carbon-rich habitats are key features of the development’s innovative and resilient landscape design.

“The city was planned through the design of its landscape, rather than its buildings. This creates an urbanism that is more socially inclusive, more economically valuable, and more sensitive to the environment.”

ALNAMA will consist of eco-friendly glamping lodges, eco resorts and a nature conservation center to promote ecotourism, while an autism village, wellness center and clinics within the medical hub will help promote medical tourism.

The green-tech hub will provide an innovative ecosystem for urban-tech companies related to food, energy, water, waste, mobility, and building materials


Volatile rouble slumps to 10-day low; Gazprom shares extend losses

Volatile rouble slumps to 10-day low; Gazprom shares extend losses
Updated 28 min 28 sec ago

Volatile rouble slumps to 10-day low; Gazprom shares extend losses

Volatile rouble slumps to 10-day low; Gazprom shares extend losses

MOSCOW: The Russian rouble plunged more than 6 percent against the dollar on Friday to its weakest level in 10 days, while shares in Gazprom extended losses after the gas giant canceled dividend payments, pressuring Russian stock indexes, according to Reuters.

As of 1019 GMT, the rouble was 5.9 percent weaker against the dollar at 54.50, earlier hitting its weakest point since June 21 at 54.9250. The currency scaled its highest level in more than seven years on Wednesday.

The unit lost 5.9 percent to trade at 56.85 versus the euro .

The likelihood of the rouble strengthening past 50 to the dollar has eased, said Dmitry Polevoy, head of investment at Locko Invest, although high commodity prices were supporting the Russian currency.

The rouble has become the world’s best-performing currency this year, boosted by measures taken to shield Russia’s financial system from Western sanctions imposed after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The measures have included restrictions on Russian households withdrawing foreign currency savings.

The rouble’s strength has raised concerns among officials and export-focused companies because it dents Russia’s income from selling commodities and other goods abroad for dollars and euros.

Expectations that Russian authorities could resort to foreign currency interventions were putting pressure on the rouble, Polevoy said.

Dividend Fallout 

Shares in Russian energy giants Rosneft and Gazprom followed divergent courses as investors responded to the two companies’ opposing dividend decisions.

Gazprom’s shares were down 5.5 percent, extending heavy losses from the previous session after the gas giant decided not to pay dividends on last year’s results for the first time in more than two decades.

Meanwhile, shares in oil major Rosneft, which approved 2021 dividend payments after Thursday’s closing bell, were gaining ground, up 4.5 percent.

“There are few reasons for optimism in the Russian market,” said Otkritie Research in a note.

The commodity sectors of the market will be under pressure and the rouble may lose some ground before the weekend, Otkritie said.

Russian stock indexes were mixed, with the dollar-denominated RTS index shedding 4.3 percent to 1,286.8 points, hitting its lowest mark since mid-June.

The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 1 percent higher at 2,225.8 points.

 


Saudi Arabia licences 79 factories with $266.5m investments in May: Ministry

Saudi Arabia licences 79 factories with $266.5m investments in May: Ministry
Updated 29 min 37 sec ago

Saudi Arabia licences 79 factories with $266.5m investments in May: Ministry

Saudi Arabia licences 79 factories with $266.5m investments in May: Ministry

RIYADH: The Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources licensed 79 new factories in May, with investments exceeding SR1 billion ($266.5 million), reaching 411 as total number of licenses since the beginning of the year.

The number of industrial facilities across the Kingdom reached 10,638, led by non-metallic minerals with over 2,056 factories, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Rubber and plastics factories followed with 1,346, while food factories reached 1,268.

Making food products accounted for the largest proportion of the total new licenses with 16 licenses, a report by the ministry’s National Industrial Information Center showed.

Small establishments acquired the vast majority of the new industrial licenses during May, with a rate of 92.4 percent, followed by medium enterprises with 6.3 percent. 

Large enterprises consisted of 1.3 percent of the new licenses, while national factories acquired new licenses by type of investment by 77 percent, followed by foreign enterprises with 13 percent, and joint investment enterprises with 10 percent.

The ministry's report showed that 62 industrial facilities began actual production in May, with investments of SR1.3 billion.

As many as 32 new industrial licenses were issued in the Saudi capital Riyadh, while 19 were issued in the Eastern region, and 11 in Makkah, the report said.

The eastern region occupied the largest number of factories that started production with 17 factories, followed by Riyadh with 16, and the Asir region with 10 factories.

Number of jobs created by the industrial sector during May reached 2,516, all of them citizens, while more than 19,000 expatriate workers left the sector during the same month, the ministry said.


TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap

TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap
Updated 01 July 2022

TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap

TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap

RIYADH: The Saudi main index, TASI, sank to its second-largest monthly decline in 2022 in the final session of June, led by fears of interest rate hikes hitting investors’ optimism.

TASI ended June losing 11 percent, to reach 11,523 at the closing bell of Thursday’s session.  

During June, the Tadawul All Share Index suffered its worst decline in six months to reach 11,299.

This was led by a 5.43 percent fall in oil giant Saudi Aramco, and 15.47 percent decrease in the Kingdom’s largest valued bank, Al Rajhi.

Saudi Industrial Export Co. topped the fallers list despite being the top gainer last month, down 63.87 percent.

Also adding to this was a weak performance from all listed sectors as they ended June in the red.

Another factor contributing to the performance was the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, which sent oil prices on a rollercoaster, creating instability and shaking the market.

It would be pertinent to mention that despite global economic shocks, TASI managed to cross 13,000 points for the first time since 2006 in March, and maintained the level during April as it closed at 13,733.


Saudi crude supplied a third of Japan’s oil needs in May

Saudi crude supplied a third of Japan’s oil needs in May
Updated 01 July 2022

Saudi crude supplied a third of Japan’s oil needs in May

Saudi crude supplied a third of Japan’s oil needs in May

TOKYO: Japan’s imports of Saudi crude oil in May amounted to 27.10 million barrels, or 33.5 percent of the total in that month, according to the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

In April, Japan’s imports of Saudi crude oil were 38.49 million barrels — 43.9 percent of the total.

During May, Japan imported 80.81 million barrels, which was a record high of 94.5 percent, some 76.38 million barrels, provided by five Arab countries: the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman, according to the data.

Russia remained on the list of Japan’s suppliers of crude oil, with the Japanese government exempting the energy sector from sanctions, but Japanese company imports decreased to 651,848 barrels — 0.8 percent — of the total.

Japan imported 36.21 million barrels from the UAE – 44.8 percent of the total imported in May. Qatar provided 5.559 million barrels (6.9 percent), Kuwait 5.556 million barrels (6.9 percent) and Oman supplied about 1.5 million barrels (1.9 percent).

The remaining imports came from Central and South America (3.8 percent), Southeast Asia (0.3 percent), and Oceania (0.6 percent).

The figures cited represent the quantities of oil that arrived at refineries, tanks and warehouses in ports in Japan during May 2022. Japan uses oil to generate about a third of its energy needs.