Global Finance (US/CAN) – 13th
June 2014 – by Steve Randall
Oil reaches nine-month high as concerns continue over supplies… US markets down …..China sees greater stability but still has some areas to improve… Canadian bank predicts housing slump this decade… and the UK takes action to cool it’s overheated property market….and Google set to go galactic….
Oil Hits Nine Month High
With the continuing violence in Iraq, the price of oil hit a nine month high this morning, following President Obama’s warning the US would consider military action. Although the International Energy Agency says there does not seem to be any risk to supplies from Iraq at the moment, the markets are nervous. The IEA have predicted that OPEC would need to produce more oil in the second half of this year, although OPEC has said they are already producing enough and that global stocks are at a good level. The price of a barrel of Brent crude reached just under $115 as markets opened this morning in Europe. Read the full story.
China Sees Greater Stability
Figures show that China’s economy had greater stability in May, following the government’s announcement of more stimulus measures, but the housing market is less stable. Economists are not predicting an major policy changes currently, but with the property market accounting for 15 per cent of China’s output, there will be concerns about any longer term slowdown of that sector. Factory output and retail both grew but investment was slower and analysts say the worst may be to come. Read the full story.
US Markets Lower
US stocks were lower on Thursday after lower-than-hoped figures on retail sales, higher claims of unemployment benefit and the ongoing uncertainty over Iraq. Experts were not predicting much better news
for Friday’s trading. Read the full story.
Economist Predicts Canadian Housing Slump Before Decade Ends
The Bank of Montreal has released analysis which predicts some tough times ahead for the housing market. Economist Robert Kavcic explains that the high number of ‘echo boomers’, the children of the baby boomer generation; typically young professionals in their twenties and thirties are boosting demand (and prices) especially in the urban markets. This, however, is not going to continue. Fewer in that demographic (and of course without the same level of help from the ‘bank of mom and dad’) will mean demand drops. This, Mr Kavcic predicts, will particularly hit Quebec and Atlantic Canada due to lower population growth from immigration. The Bank’s forecast is for this turnaround to hit in 2018. Read the full story.
Bank of England Set to Cool UK Housing Market
The Bank of England is to be given powers to restrict the income-to-lending ratio of mortgages. In a move that was announced yesterday by the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Bank, headed by Canadian Mark Carney, would be empowered to stop banks lending at the kind of levels seen currently. Some lenders are agreeing mortgages five or six times salary. Although this a new power for the central bank, experts say that it has always had the option to ‘suggest’ that banks should restrict lending, which would not have been ignored. It is not expected that the Bank will use its new power any time soon. The governor has hinted though, that interest rates may rise ‘sooner’ than analysts expect, a hint that rates could go up this year rather than next. Although the bank is independent, it would sit better politically to push a rise through this year, as there is a general election next year. The rate rise hint pushed the pound to a near five year high. Read the full story.
Google to Boldly Go….
Space tourism is predicted to be a boom business in the coming years and now Google is eyeing an investment in Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. The deal is attractive to Virgin, who would see the tie in as a boost to its credibility following some hitches, but for Google it would allow them access to satellite launch technology, developed by Virgin, which would help them with their plan to boost worldwide internet coverage and improve satellite-based services such as Google maps. Read the full story.