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World shares mixed, oil higher after Russia price cap pact

AP – World shares were mixed and oil prices rose yesterday after the European Union (EU) and the Group of Seven (G7) democracies agreed on a boycott of most Russian oil and committed to a price cap of USD60 per barrel on Russian exports.

Germany’s DAX slipped 0.3 per cent to 14,490.99 and the CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.2 per cent to 6,728.57. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged 0.1 per cent higher, to 7,562.40. The future for the S&P 500 gave up 0.4 per cent and the contract for the Dow future lost 0.3 per cent.

United States (US) benchmark crude oil picked up 55 cents to USD80.53 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost USD1.24 to USD79.98 per barrel on Friday.

Brent crude added 56 cents to USD86.13 per barrel after Western countries yesterday began imposing the USD60-per-barrel price cap and ban on some types of Russian oil.

It was unclear how much Russian oil the two sanctions measures might remove from the global market, tightening supply and driving up prices. The world’s No 2 oil producer has been able to reroute much, but not all, of its former European shipments to customers in India, China and Turkiye.

A woman walks by monitors showing exchange rates of the Japanese yen against foreign currencies at a securities firm in Tokyo. PHOTO: AP

On Sunday, Saudi-led OPEC oil cartel and allied producers including Russia decided to not change their targets for shipping oil to the global economy. In October, the OPEC+ alliance opted to slash production by two million barrels per day starting in November, a cut that remains in effect. In Asian trading, Hong Kong’s benchmark jumped 4.5 per cent to 19,518.29. The Shanghai Composite added 1.8 per cent to 3,211.81.

Market players are betting that disruptions to manufacturing and trade will abate as Chinese authorities lift some of the most onerous restrictions imposed to contain outbreaks of the coronavirus, while saying their “zero-COVID” strategy – which aims to isolate every infected person – is still in place. The curbs have included lockdowns of neighbourhoods or buildings, frequent mandatory testing and shutdowns of factories and other businesses. China recently saw several days of protests across cities including Shanghai and Beijing as public frustration with the COVID-19 curbs boiled into unrest.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.2 per cent to 27,820.40 and the Kospi in Seoul shed 0.6 per cent to 2,419.32. In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.3 per cent to 7,325.60. Shares fell in Mumbai but rose in Singapore and Taiwan. Thailand’s markets were closed for a holiday.

Shares were mixed on Friday on Wall Street as investors fretted over inflation after a report showed US wages were accelerating. That revived worries that the Federal Reserve (Fed) may not be able to ease back as much as hoped on its big interest-rate hikes.

The S&P 500 edged 0.1 per cent lower and the Dow industrials gained 0.1 per cent. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.2 per cent.

Stocks have been on the upswing for the last month on hopes inflation may have peaked, allowing the Fed to dial down rate hikes that aim to undercut inflation by slowing the economy and dragging down prices for stocks and other investments.

But Friday’s labour market report showed that wages for workers rose 5.1 per cent last month from a year earlier. That’s an acceleration from October’s 4.9 per cent gain and easily topped economists’ expectations for a slowdown.

US employers added 263,000 jobs last month.

That beat economists’ forecasts for 200,000, while the unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 per cent.

Many Americans also continue to stay entirely out of the job market, with a larger percentage of people either not working or looking for work than before the pandemic, which could increase the pressure on employers to raise wages.

Still, a growing number of economists are forecasting the US economy will dip into a recession next year, mainly because of higher interest rates.

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