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European shares falter as year-end rally fades

By Ritu, Capital Sands European shares looked set to end the decade with a whimper on Tuesday as investors locked in gains after a record rally that was fueled by optimism around trade and easing fears of a global recession. In a shortened session ahead of the New Year’s Eve celebrations, the pan-European STOXX 600 index  shed 0.3%. “While market volumes are predictably light, investors continue to strike a year-end cautionary tone as December optimism is gradually giving way to 2020’s uncertainty,” Global equities notched multiple record highs in December…

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Yuan hits multi-month highs as economy shows signs of stabilization

By Ritu, Capital Sands The Chinese yuan hit almost five-month highs and the USD continued to retreat on the last day of the year in Asia. The U.S. dollar index was down 0.06% to 96.69 by 8:45 PM ET, continuing a multi-day slide. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) set the reference rate for the yuan at 6.9762, stronger than the 6.9805 fix set on Monday and its strongest point since early August. China’s economy continues to show signs of stabilization. The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for December released by the National…

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Oil price rise muted in 2019 despite sanctions, supply cuts, attack in Saudi Arabia

By Ritu, Capital Sands Oil prices rose more than 20% this year but there were no sharp spikes and crude futures barely sniffed $70 a barrel despite attacks on the world’s biggest oil producer, sanctions that crippled crude exports of two OPEC members and gigantic supply cuts from big oil producing countries. The price gains in crude oil benchmarks were all in the first quarter of 2019, even as the next several months featured supply shocks that in the past would probably have propelled crude past the $100 mark. U.S.…

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Dollar trims annual gains in low volatility year, more action seen in 2020

By Ritu, Capital Sands The dollar was on the defensive on Monday in light year-end trading after suffering a setback the previous session, as hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal lifted investors’ risk appetite, sapping safe-haven demand for the greenback. The dollar index was stable at 96.942 against six major currencies after sliding 0.6% on Friday for its biggest single day percentage drop since June. With Friday’s loss, the index’s gains for the year have shrunk to under 1%, putting it on track for the smallest annual change in six years. Against…

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Oil hits three-month highs as strong U.S. consumer spending underpins growth hopes

By Ritu, Capital Sands Oil prices rose on Friday, hitting three-month highs after data showed record online spending by U.S. consumers, stoking faith in the world’s no. 1 economy even before the hoped-for end to the trade war between Washington and Beijing. Brent crude futures were up 6 cents, or 0.1%, at $67.98 a barrel , after rising to as high as $68.10, the highest since September. The West Texas Intermediate contract was up 11 cents, or 0.2%, at $61.79 a barrel. A survey on Thursday showed that online holiday purchases…

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Trade optimism puts floor on dollar/yen, boosts Aussie

By Ritu, Capital Sands   The dollar hovered near a six-month high versus the Japanese yen while the Australian dollar climbed to its strongest since July on Friday, buoyed by easing Sino-U.S. trade tensions. The optimism around prospects for a trade deal reduced demand for safe-haven currencies such as the yen, but with global currency markets in a holiday mood after Christmas Day on Wednesday, overall trading activity was mostly subdued. Beijing said on Wednesday it is in close touch with Washington on a trade deal signing ceremony, a day…

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Oil climbs, lifted by U.S.-China trade deal hopes, OPEC cuts

By Ritu, Capital Sands   Oil prices rose on Thursday, buoyed by a potential breakthrough in the Sino-U.S. trade war and OPEC-led efforts to constrain supply, although trading was quiet as many markets were in holiday mode. Brent crude was up 28 cents, or 0.4%, at $67.48 a barrel by 0651 GMT. West Texas Intermediate was up 25 cents, also a 0.4% gain, at $61.36 a barrel. “Oil prices continue to show year-end strength supported by a combination of definitive progress on the U.S.-China trade deal, the Dec OPEC/OPEC+ agreement,…

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5 Things to Watch for in Global Markets in 2020

By Ritu,      Capital Sands   1. No end in sight to the U.S.-China struggle for supremacy The trade war between the U.S. and China, which hobbled the world economy almost single-handedly in 2019 is likely to leave deep marks on 2020 too. The International Monetary Fund estimated in October that the tariffs imposed by both sides, and the far-reaching uncertainty they have caused, will shave $700 billion of value off the world economy next year, the equivalent of 0.8% of global gross domestic product. Election to cast a…

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European shares hover near record high in thin holiday trade

By Ritu, Capital Sands   European shares traded near all-time highs on Tuesday in a holiday-shortened week, helped by optimism about the global economic outlook amid progress in U.S.-China trade talks. The pan-European STOXX 600 index was nearly unchanged . Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.2% and Spain’s IBEX ) eased 0.4%. France’s CAC  was trading flat, while Germany’s DAX  and Italy’s FTSE MIB  were shut for Christmas Eve. Investor sentiment has received a boost going into the new year with the apparent easing of two of the biggest risks to…

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Cong bigwigs on ‘satyagraha’ against CAA, Jagan says won’t implement NRC

By Ritu, Capital Sands Stating that democracy in India is under threat from the BJP-led government at the Centre, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to chief ministers and senior leaders belonging to opposition parties urging them to unite and chalk out a plan to “save the country”. As massive anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register Citizens (NRC) protests continued in several parts of the country for a ninth consecutive day on Monday, including in Chennai and Bengaluru, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy joined the growing list of…

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