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Oil prices, Dow fall as markets grapple with latest Covid-19 resurgence


Oil prices crass

Agency Report

Oil prices tumbled Monday on weak manufacturing data from China, while global growth worries also weighed on US equities even as Asian and European bourses advanced.

Leading oil futures contracts fell more than three per cent after Chinese factory activity weakened in July to its lowest level since the start of the pandemic.

While the 50.4 figure was worse than many forecasts, it was still above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction.

China has also been confronted with a worsening resurgence of Covid-19.

China’s outbreak now spans 14 provinces, the most widespread in several months, challenging the country’s early success in tackling the disease after it was first detected in the city of Wuhan in late 2019.

“A slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy would be a big blow for the region at a time when numerous countries are struggling to get to grips with the latest Covid wave,” said Craig Erlam, an analyst at Oanda.

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China has put more than one million people under lockdown and reinstituted mass testing campaigns.

Still, European and Asian equity markets pushed higher, but a rally on Wall Street petered out.

The yield on the 10-year US Treasury note, a proxy for medium-term growth expectations, sank below 1.2 per cent in a sign of jitters over the economy’s recovery.

The drop followed last week’s US data that showed strong second-quarter growth, but at a level below analyst’s expectations.

Data released Monday from the Institute for Supply Management also showed manufacturing industry growth below market expectations due to ongoing supply shortages and bottlenecks.

“Investors are turning cautious, fearing growth could be slowing,” said Peter Cardillo of Spartan Capital.

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DataTrek Research pointed to Google search data that showed an uptick in searches about Covid-19 as the Delta variant has spread, as well as Apple Mobility data that showed people walking and driving less.

Those figures are “a worrisome combination,” amounting to a “classic recipe for a growth scare,” DataTrek said in a note.

On the corporate front, shares in Sydney-listed Afterpay surged by nearly 19 percent after US digital payments platform Square, led by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, said it would purchase the buy-now, pay-later company for $29 billion (24 billion euros).

Square surged 10.2 percent.

– Key figures around 2050 GMT –
New York – Dow: DOWN 0.3 percent at 34,838.16 (close)

New York – S&P 500: DOWN 0.2 percent at 4,387.16 (close)

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New York – Nasdaq: UP 0.1 percent at 14,681.07 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.7 percent at 7,081.72 (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.2 percent at 15,568.73 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: UP 1.0 percent at 6,675.90 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.7 percent at 4,116.62 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.8 percent at 27,781.02 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: UP 1.1 percent at 26,235.80 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 2.0 percent at 3,464.29 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1874 from $1.1876 Friday

Euro/pound: UP at 85.49 pence from 85.34 pence

Pound/dollar: DOWN at 1.3885 from $1.3908

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.34 yen from 109.66 yen

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 3.3 percent at $72.89 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 3.6 percent at $71.26 per barrel