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Global shares gain, oil prices fall as Shanghai locks down

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Global shares are mostly higher and oil prices have fallen after Shanghai went into a nine-day semi-lockdown.


Benchmarks rose in Paris, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Shanghai but fell in Tokyo and Seoul


Adding to concern over the economic impact from the pandemic, Shanghai went into a nine-day semi-lockdown. With China’s economic growth already slowing, the extreme measure could worsen unemployment, sap consumer demand and further complicate already snarled global supply chains.


Still, the Shanghai Composite index edged 0.1% higher to 3,214.50.

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In early European trading, France’s CAC 40 added 1.1% to 6,626.23, while Germany’s DAX jumped 1.4% to 14,501.43. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.3% to 7,505.99. The future for the Dow industrials rose 0.1% to 34,729.00, while the S&P 500’s future was nearly unchanged.


Aside from the lingering concerns over the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and inflation are clouding the global outlook. The Federal Reserve’s moves to raise interest rates to counter surging prices are another worry in uncertain times.


The Japanese yen dipped to a seven-year low against the U.S. dollar after the central bank said it would buy 10-year Japanese government bonds at a fixed rate of 0.25% for three days starting Tuesday. By buying the bonds, the Bank of Japan is trying to keep interest rates under control at a time when rates are rising in the U.S. and elsewhere.

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The BOJ has kept its own benchmark rate at an ultra-low minus 0.1% for years, trying to encourage borrowing and spending to help spur faster economic growth. Its determination to keep interest rates from rising is being strained by the yen’s weakness, which favours exporters but raises the costs of imports of crucial manufacturing materials and consumer goods and especially of oil and gas.


The dollar was trading at 124.55 yen late Monday, weakening from 122.07 yen late Friday. The euro cost US$1.0981, down from $1.0989.


The trend is unlikely to reverse anytime soon, Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a commentary.


“There is no evidence yet that the BOJ is willing to push back against (Japanese yen) weakness due to rising import price pressures,” he said.


Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped nearly 0.7% to finish at 27,943.89 on Monday, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.1% to 7,412.40. South Korea’s Kospi inched down less than 0.1% to 2,729.56. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng surged 1.3% to 21,684.97.


Ukraine and Russia are due to hold talks early this week in Turkey. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday in a nightly national address that he hoped for “peace without delay” but would ensure his country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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The war is adding to worries over instability, energy prices and economic slowdowns in various nations.


Oil prices have been volatile since Russia’s war against Ukraine began in February. Russia is the second-biggest crude exporter. Energy prices were already high, but the conflict has raised concerns about a worsening supply crunch that could maker persistently rising inflation even worse.


The United Arab Emirates’ energy minister on an oil alliance with Russia, saying it’s an important member of the global OPEC+ energy alliance with its output of 10 million barrels of oil a day.


“And leaving the politics aside, that volume is needed today,” Suhail al-Mazrouei said. “Unless someone is willing to come and bring 10 million barrels, we don’t see that someone can substitute Russia.”


Led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, the alliance has the capacity to increase oil output and bring down crude prices that have soared past $100 a barrel.


Benchmark U.S. crude fell $4.49 to $109.41 a barrel Monday in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 1.4% to settle at $113.90 per barrel late Friday. Brent crude, the international pricing standard, fell $4.30 to $116.35 a barrel.

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