Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Friday.
Oil prices slumped below $US45 a barrel — levels last seen in November 2016 when key OPEC producers agreed on production cuts. Concerns of a supply glut, thanks to soaring U.S. oil production, appears to have more than negated moves by OPEC members and 11 other large producers to cut output by almost 1.2 million barrels per day during the first half of 2017. A short while ago, West Texas Intermediate oil was 2.8% lower at $US44.26 adding to the 4.8% loss on Thursday. It has dropped 17% since April 11.
London losing the business of euro clearing — an industry worth €930 billion (£792 billion, $US995 billion) daily — after Brexit would massively hurt the rest of Europe as well as Britain. That is according to Miles Celic of TheCityUK, a UK financial and professional services lobby group. “Clearing is an activity where economies of scale make a big difference to the cost of doing business. This is one of the major reasons why clearing has become concentrated in major international centres like London. It has the scale, expertise and infrastructure to keep costs as low as possible,” Celic said.
The Conservative Party has made big gains in local elections held across the country on Thursday, early results suggest. So far the Conservatives have gained control of five councils while Labour have lost control of two, according to the BBC. The Tories have also won the mayoralty of the West of England region.
The UK’s small and medium-sized (SME) manufacturers shook off Brexit woes and reported strong growth in orders in the three months to April, but rising costs and prices continue to bite, according to the CBI. The CBI’s latest SME Trends survey of 373 manufacturers found growth in total new orders was at a three-year high. Domestic orders rose at 19% for the quarter, sequentially — their fastest pace since October 2013. Export order growth accelerated to 20% sequentially, the highest growth rate since April 2011.
Chinese state-owned chemical company ChemChina has won more than enough support from Syngenta shareholders to clinch its $US43 billion takeover of the Swiss pesticides and seeds group, the two companies said on Friday. “At the end of the main offer period on May 4, based on preliminary numbers, around 80.7 per cent of shares have been tendered. Subject to confirmation in the definitive notice of interim results scheduled for May 10, the minimum acceptance rate condition of 67 per cent of issued Syngenta shares has been met,” they said in a joint statement.
U.S. job growth likely rebounded in April and wages increased, pointing to a further tightening in labour market conditions that could pave the way for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates next month. Nonfarm payrolls probably increased by 185,000 jobs last month, according to a Reuters poll of economists, after a paltry gain of 98,000 in March.
Gold inched up on Friday as the euro rose against the dollar, but was on track for its biggest weekly fall since November on receding political risks in France and expectations of a U.S. rate rise as early as June. Gold is poised to end the week down over 3 per cent, the biggest percentage fall since the week ending Nov. 11.
Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffet has sold about a third of his stake in IBM Corp during the first and second quarter of 2017. “I don’t value IBM the same way that I did 6 years ago when I started buying… I’ve revalued it somewhat downward” Buffett told CNBC during an interview.
The number of unicorns is ‘stabilizing,’ according to analysts at Goldman Sachs. “From 1Q14 through 4Q15, on average, each quarter saw the addition of 15-16 new unicorns. However, following 4Q15, on average, each quarter has only added 5-6 new unicorns. For context, since the beginning of 2014, the number of unicorns has grown from 45 (at the beginning of 1Q14) to 153 (end of 1Q17),” Goldman analyst Heather Bellini said.
Libya is ratcheting up its oil production. Last week, the country’s Sharara and El Feel oilfields, which can pump 400,000 barrels per day, came back online. The National Oil Company (NOC) said on Monday that Libya’s oil production jumped to 760,000 bpd — the highest level since December 2014. ChairmanMustafa Sanalla added that the NOC was working to boost production even further.