Saturday, March 25, 2023

Asian shares mixed, oil crosses $115

Asian stocks were mixed on Tuesday after reports showed China’s manufacturing slowdown was easing as anti-virus restrictions on business in Shanghai and Beijing eased.

US futures rose after markets closed in New York on Monday for Memorial Day. European stocks edged higher on Monday.

Oil prices were trading above $115 a barrel after an agreement by EU leaders to restrict most Russian oil imports in blocks by the end of the year.

The deal, part of the new sanctions on Moscow, was worked out at a summit focused on helping Ukraine with a long-delayed package of new financial aid. The embargo includes Russian oil brought in by sea, allowing a temporary exemption for imports delivered by the pipeline. This was important in bringing the landlocked Hungary to a decision that required consensus.

Benchmark US crude oil rose $2.77 to $117.84 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 98 cents to $115.07 a barrel on Monday.

Brent crude, used as a pricing basis for international trade, rose 76 cents to $118.38 a barrel.

China’s easing of anti-virus restrictions on businesses in Shanghai and Beijing has raised hopes of strong growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

An official survey of factory activity growth in May, however, still indicates an expansion on a scale from below the 50 level to 100. The Main Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, rose to 49.6 from 47.4 in April.

“The PMIs probably underestimated the scale of the recovery this month, as the surveys mostly took place before the easing of most restrictions in Shanghai,” Sheena Yu of Capital Economics said in a report. “We suspect that hard data will reveal a strong recovery in the coming weeks.”

More factories, shops and other businesses are being allowed to reopen this week in Shanghai and the Chinese capital Beijing after officials declared the outbreak under control. The Shanghai city government promised cuts in rent and tax, faster approvals for construction projects and more subsidies for electric car purchases.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.2% to 3,154.44 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.1% to 21,144.72.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was up 0.1% at 27,404.14, while the Kospi in Seoul rose 0.1% to 2,672.33.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.2% lower at 7,268.80. Shares in Taiwan also declined.

The future of Wall Street’s S&P 500 index was 0.3% higher on Friday after benchmarks ended the week at 6.6% after falling inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 0.1%.

Investors were relieved after Commerce Department data showed US inflation, which prompted the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, fell to 6.3% A year ago in April, its first drop in 17 months.

But concerns remain over whether the Fed can control inflation at a four-decade high without tipping the largest global economy into recession.

Crude oil prices have risen 60% this year on fears of supply disruptions from Russia, the second largest global exporter. Wheat prices have increased by about 50% and corn prices by 30%.

The dollar rose from 127.55 yen to 128.09 Japanese yen late Monday. The euro fell from $1.0778 to $1.0747.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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