Japan prices rise for third straight month

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japan’s core consumer prices rose 0.5 percent year-on-year in November, the third monthly increase after two modest hikes of 0.1 percent driven partly by higher fuel prices, government data showed Friday. The advances follow 18 months of declines or stagnation during the depths of the pandemic, and Friday’s reading beat economist expectations of a 0.4 percent rise. The core consumer price index, which excludes volatile fresh food prices but includes fuel […]

Equity and oil markets slump on Omicron panic

  by Roland JACKSON Agence France Presse Global equity and oil markets slumped Monday on investor panic over the impact of worldwide measures to contain the fast-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant, dealers said. Asia tanked on concern over a fresh global surge in coronavirus infections, sparking a fierce renewed selloff in Europe, with eyes also on the US open. Oil tumbled by more than five percent as traders fretted over the impact on the world’s appetite […]

Asian markets drop on Omicron spike, Biden spending bill blow

HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Asian stocks fell on Monday on fears about a fresh global surge in coronavirus infections and as the future of US President Joe Biden’s massive social spending bill was thrown into doubt after it lost the crucial vote of a moderate Democrat. With traders beginning to wind down ahead of the festive season, analysts said trade was thinner and markets more susceptible to swings, but the mood has become increasingly […]

Mexico registers highest inflation in 20 years

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AFP) — Mexico registered its highest annual inflation since 2001, at 7.37 percent in November, the Inegi statistics institute said Thursday. Month-on-month, the increase was 1.14 percent, it said, pointing to agricultural and energy price rises as the main contributors. The 12-month figure is higher than the 3.33 percent recorded in November a year ago, and in excess of the central bank target of three percent per year. The previous high was […]

Billionaires’ share of global wealth soars during pandemic

  by Ali BEKHTAOUI Agence France Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — The share of global wealth of the world’s richest people soared at a record pace during the Covid pandemic, a report on inequality showed Tuesday. Since 1995, the slice held by billionaires has risen from one percent to three percent, according to the World Inequality Report. “This increase was exacerbated during the Covid pandemic. In fact, 2020 marked the steepest increase in global billionaires’ […]

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 […]