Oil prices tumbled 3.5% in volatile trade on Tuesday, pressured by weak demand data from China, a gloomy economic outlook and a stronger U.S. dollar. Brent futures for March delivery fell $3.03 to $82.88 a barrel and U.S. crude fell $2.81 to $77.45 per barrel.
"There is plenty of reason for concerns here - the China COVID-19 situation and the fear of recession in the foreseeable future is putting pressure on markets," Mizuho analyst Robert Yawger said.
The Chinese government has raised export quotas for refined oil products in the first batch for 2023. Traders attributed the increase to expectations of poor domestic demand as the world's largest crude importer continues to battle waves of COVID-19 infections. Another concern is that China's factory activity shrank in December as surging infections disrupted production and weighed on demand after Beijing largely removed anti-virus curbs.
The dollar, meanwhile, was headed for its largest one-day rise in over three months. A stronger dollar can crimp demand for oil, making the dollar-denominated commodity more expensive for holders of other currencies.
Commerzbank said it expects the global economic outlook to play a "much more important role" in oil price developments than production decisions taken by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies. The bank expects signs of economic recovery "in key economic areas" to push Brent back towards $100 a barrel, which it said could happen from the second quarter of the year onwards.
"The outlook remains highly uncertain, though, which would ensure oil prices remain highly volatile," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.
The COVID omicron XBB.1.5 variant is rapidly becoming dominant in the U.S. because it is highly immune evasive and appears more effective at binding to cells than related subvariants, scientists say.
1.5 now represents about 41% of new cases nationwide in the U.S., nearly doubling in prevalence over the past week, according to the data published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Scientists at Columbia University, in a study published last month in the journal Cell, warned that the rise of subvariants such as XBB could “further compromise the efficacy of current COVID-19 vaccines and result in a surge of breakthrough infections as well as re-infections.” The scientists described the resistance of the XBB subvariants to antibodies from vaccination and infection as “alarming.”
Andrew Pekosz, a virologist at Johns Hopkins University, said XBB.1.5 is different from its family members because it has an additional mutation that makes it bind better to cells. He noted, however, that the boosters appear to be preventing severe disease.
For November 2022, output prices for producers in the Mining and Quarrying industry increased by 0.7% while the index for the Manufacturing industry declined by 0.3%.
The movement in the Mining and Quarrying industry index was mainly attributed to a 0.8% increase in the index for the major group ‘Bauxite Mining & Alumina Processing’. This was due primarily to the depreciation of the Jamaican dollar against the US dollar.
The main contributors to the decline in the index for the Manufacturing industry were the ‘Refined Petroleum Products’ group, which fell by 1.4%, and ‘Food, Beverages and Tobacco’, which declined by 0.1%. The declines in the groupings were the result of both moderating energy and food prices on the global markets coupled with the likelihood of a recession. This fall was, however, tempered by a 0.1% increase in the index for the major group ‘Rubber & Plastic Products’.
For the period November 2021 – November 2022, the Mining & Quarrying industry’s index fell by 20.4% while the point-to-point movement for the Manufacturing industry’s index increased by 13.1%. The two major groups contributing to the movement in the Manufacturing industry were ‘Refined Petroleum Products’ (21.0%), and ‘Food, Beverages & Tobacco’ (12.5%). The increase in oil prices and other key commodities due to the Russia-Ukraine war are the primary reasons for the month-over-month increases in both groupings.
Brazil posted a $62.3 billion trade surplus in 2022, official data showed on Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, a record in the series that started in 1989. In December, the trade surplus was $4.8 billion, exceeding the $3 billion surplus forecast in a Reuters poll with economists.
The 2022 result was above the most recent expectations of the Jair Bolsonaro government, which in October had projected a trade surplus of $55.4 billion.
Total exports for the year also reached a record high of $335 billion, a 19.3% growth, helped by a boost in prices in the agriculture and livestock sector. Imports, meanwhile, jumped 24.3% and were also record-breaking, at $272.7 billion.
Both ends of the trade flow were affected by a sharp increase in prices, which rose much higher than the volume of commercial transactions: 13.6% on average for exports and 23.4% for imports.
In December alone, exports grew 14% compared with the previous year, to $26.6 billion. Imports reached $21.9 billion, or 12% above the last month of 2021.
Remittances to Mexico from abroad dropped in November to $4.8 billion after a series of record months, data from the Mexican central bank showed on Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, amid fears of a global economic slowdown.
Mexico had enjoyed six consecutive months of remittances over $5 billion since May, culminating with October's record of $5.36 billion. November marked a 3.9% seasonally-adjusted monthly decrease, though it was still up annually by 3%.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been a strong supporter of remittances amid weak domestic economic growth and high inflation. It remains to be seen if the November slowdown in remittances translates into stalling overseas support for Mexican families.
Remittances from January through November rose 13.5% annually to a total of $53.1 billion, the central bank said. Lopez Obrador had forecast remittances to reach $60 billion by the end of 2022.
For much of the global economy, 2023 is going to be a tough year as the main engines of global growth - the United States, Europe and China - all experience weakening activity, the head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, said on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023.
In October, the IMF cut its outlook for global economic growth in 2023, reflecting the continuing drag from the war in Ukraine, inflation pressures, and the high-interest rates engineered by central banks like the U.S. Federal Reserve to bring those price pressures to heel.
Georgieva said the U.S. economy is standing apart and may avoid the outright contraction that is likely to afflict as much as a third of the world's economies.
Inflation showed signs of having passed its peak as 2022 ended, but by the Fed's preferred measure, it remains nearly three times its 2% target. Last year, in the most aggressive policy tightening since the early 1980s, the Fed lifted its benchmark policy rate from near zero in March to the current range of 4.25% to 4.50%, and Fed officials last month projected it will breach the 5% mark in 2023, a level not seen since 2007.
The U.S. job market will be a central focus for Fed officials who would like to see demand for labour slacken to help undercut price pressures. The first week of the new year brings a raft of key data on the employment front, including Friday's monthly nonfarm payrolls report, which is expected to show the U.S. economy minted another 200,000 jobs in December and the jobless rate remained at 3.7% - near the lowest since the 1960s.
Mainland China’s reopening came sooner than expected for investors, and Goldman Sachs warns it will lead to short-term strains in the workforce and supply chains.
According to mobility data analyzed by economists at Goldman Sachs, China is likely to see “weaker growth momentum during the frontloaded ‘exit wave’ on the back of surging infections, a temporary labour shortage, and increased supply chain disruptions,” it said in a note Tuesday.
According to economists polled by Reuters, China’s factory activity is expected to have contracted in December when its National Bureau of Statistics releases its manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index on Saturday, Jan. 7. Economists predict the reading will come in at 48, below the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction and in line with levels seen in the previous month.
Despite shorter-term concerns for China’s reopening, economists have a rosy outlook for China’s growth in the long run.
The economists noted that the latest developments for reopening support the firm’s previous forecasts for China’s economy to grow 5.2% in 2023, after expanding 1.7% in the fourth quarter of 2022 on an annualized basis. The latest outlook was revised in mid-December when it raised its forecast for 2023′s full-year growth from a previous prediction of 4.5%.
The board of the movie theatre Palace Amusement has agreed to a stock split. The decision will now be put to the company's shareholders at its annual general meeting on January 24, 2023.
Investors will be asked to vote on increasing the company's authorised share capital from 1.5 million to an unlimited number of shares.
These ordinary shares will be equal to the current shares in circulation. Palace's shareholders are also asked to agree to a stock split, which would see each issued ordinary share in the company sub-divided into 600 additional shares. This would take effect from the close of business on February 28, 2023.
It will bring the total number of issued shares from 1.44 million ordinary shares to 862.22 million ordinary shares with no-par value.
The Grenada Tourism Authority announced that for the third consecutive month commencing in September, visitor arrivals showed a significant increase over the benchmark year of 2019. Data suggested that November 2022 saw the highest arrivals, with a total of 14,232 visitors, representing a 17% increase over 2019 figures.
Notably, the USA market has shown the strongest rebound and represents 61% of overall visitation. The market is anticipated to finish 2022 with a 2% growth over 2019 which, given the fact that Grenada opened its ports only in April of this year, shows how strong the recovery has been.
CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority Petra Roach stated, “During the pandemic, we did a lot of groundwork putting systems in place to create a more efficient operation and evaluate our activity.” Since then, the country’s digital footprint has expanded significantly, which has given the country a much more cost-effective marketing reach.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is poised to halve financial support on energy bills for businesses, amid concerns about the cost, The Times reported.
Former Prime Minister Liz Truss had announced in September a six-month scheme to subsidise the wholesale price for businesses. UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt "will announce a 12-month extension to the scheme but with the level of support more than halved, amid concerns about taxpayers' exposure to fluctuating energy prices.
The report comes after British public borrowing during last month hit its highest (£22bn versus £13.9Bn in November 2021) for any November on record, reflecting the mounting cost of energy subsidies, debt interest and the reversal of an increase in payroll taxes.
The new scheme is expected to cost less than £20Bn ($24.09Bn) over 12 months, compared with £40Bn for the existing one, the report added.
The businesses would get a discount of up to £345/megawatt hour of electricity and £91/megawatt hour of gas.