Top oil producers may freeze output amid Omicron concerns

by Benoît PELEGRIN LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Major oil producers are due to meet Thursday to decide on output levels from January onwards, which could be frozen as the new Covid variant Omicron sparks turmoil. The OPEC+ alliance led by Saudi Arabia and Russia has so far resisted US-led pressure to significantly boost output to rein in surging energy prices. The emergence of the new variant has further complicated the equation, leading to countries […]

Global markets rebound after Omicron turmoil

  by Roland JACKSON Agence France Presse LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Global stock markets rebounded Wednesday and oil prices surged following Omicron-driven losses and on the eve of a key output meeting of OPEC and its allies. European equities advanced, mirroring most rebounding Asian bourses, as dealers temporarily set aside news of record-high eurozone inflation. Oil surged about five percent, while the dollar extended gains against major rivals as the Federal Reserve is seen […]

Global markets down, oil slumps on Omicron vaccine warning

    NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — World stocks and oil prices slid Tuesday after Moderna warned current vaccines might be less effective at fending off the Omicron variant, and eurozone inflation spiked to a record high. Frankfurt, London and Paris followed Asia in closing sharply lower, with sentiment dogged by fears of fresh economic fallout from the long-running Covid crisis. Wall Street saw a significant sell off after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell […]

Lockdowns cause Australian economy to shrink

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Lockdowns and border controls shrank Australia’s economy by 1.9 percent in the third quarter, official statistics showed Wednesday, a decline more modest than expected but worse than in many other wealthy nations. The Australian Bureau of Statistics said the quarterly downturn — the first since it contracted at the start of the pandemic in the first half of 2020 — was due to “extended lockdowns” in the country’s most populous states. […]

Asian markets hit by Moderna vaccine warning over Omicron

  HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Asian equity and oil traders were sent running Tuesday after the head of Moderna warned current coronavirus vaccines might be less effective at fending off the Omicron variant, fuelling fears that countries could be forced back into economically painful lockdowns. Stocks had mostly been edging up after a two-day sell-off that followed news Friday of the new variant, which some observers said was overdone as billions of people have […]

Fears over new Covid variant hit Asian markets, oil prices

HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Asian markets and oil prices sank while safe havens rallied on Friday over fears of a new Covid-19 variant that scientists warn could be more infectious than Delta and more resistant to vaccines, dealing a blow to the global recovery. The B.1.1.529 strain has been blamed for a surge in fresh cases in South Africa and has already cropped up in Hong Kong, with the World Health Organization due to […]

Asian markets mixed, dollar rises again as Fed’s Powell gets nod

HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Markets were mixed in Asia on Tuesday and the dollar extended gains as investors bet on a quicker pace of monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve after Jerome Powell was nominated to serve a second term as boss and said his goal was to tame the recent spike in inflation. While Powell was widely expected to get the nod from Joe Biden to continue to head the central bank, the […]

Japan unveils record $490 billion stimulus to boost pandemic recovery

by Kyoko HASEGAWA TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced a record $490 billion stimulus for the world’s third-largest economy Friday as he looks to shore up the country’s patchy pandemic recovery. The 56 trillion yen injection, the third since the Covid crisis struck last year and expected to be approved by the cabinet later in the day, “is enough to deliver a sense of safety and hope to the Japanese people”, […]

Japan prices rise for second month

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japan’s core consumer prices rose slightly year-on-year in October for the second month running, driven in part by higher fuel prices, government data showed Friday. The core consumer price index, which excludes volatile fresh food prices but includes fuel costs, was up 0.1 percent in October, tracking the same rise in September and in line with economist expectations. The second monthly rise follows 18 months of declines or stagnation during the […]

HSBC chief backs Hong Kong’s coronavirus isolation

SINGAPORE (AFP) — The boss of Asia-focused lending giant HSBC backed Hong Kong’s decision to mirror China’s zero-Covid strategy on Thursday despite rising concern within the finance industry over the business hub’s international isolation. Hong Kong has maintained some of the world’s harshest quarantine measures and travel restrictions during the pandemic. The strategy has kept infections low but ensured a business hub that dubs itself “Asia’s World City” has been cut off internationally for the […]

FedEx relocates pilots from Hong Kong over city quarantine rules

  HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Global delivery giant FedEx said Wednesday it was closing its crew base in Hong Kong and relocating pilots overseas because of the city’s strict anti-coronavirus measures. The move is the latest blow to Hong Kong’s reputation as a global logistics hub as strict travel curbs and mandatory quarantine rules keep the city cut off from the rest of the world. “As the global business environment continues to evolve and […]

Uber resumes shared rides in US

  SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Ride-hailing giant Uber has resumed its ride-sharing service in the United States, a top executive announced Tuesday, offering customers in Miami a feature that was stopped last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The UberX Share option — formerly called Uber Pool — allows people to share rides with strangers at a reduced cost, and builds in precautions against the spread of the coronavirus. “609 days later, shared […]