The world this week--Business
Oil prices rose sharply after OPEC+ announced a surprise cut to production.
The cartel said it wanted to support stability in the market, which is another way of saying it didn’t like the dip in oil prices in mid-March.
It also wanted to deter speculators who have been betting on softer oil prices.
OPEC+ is lowering output by a further 1.15m barrels per day, taking its reduction in supply to 3.66m bpd, or 3.7% of global demand.
Media reports suggested that UBS may cut up to 30% of the workforce, around 36,000 jobs, in the newly combined bank that emerges from its emergency takeover of Credit Suisse.
Meanwhile the chairman of Credit Suisse, Axel Lehmann, apologised to investors at the 167-year-old bank’s last-ever annual general meeting.
In his opening speech, Mr Lehmann noted the “bitterness, anger and shock” of shareholders.
The chairman of HSBC, Mark Tucker, faced irate shareholders at a meeting in Hong Kong.
Influential investors in the Chinese territory support proposals for HSBC to spin off its Asian business, which provides most of the bank’s profits.
The campaign is backed by Ping An, a Chinese insurance company and HSBC’s biggest shareholder.
Mr Tucker said the board’s opposition to a split was unanimous.
He also pledged to keep up dividend payments that had been cut during the pandemic.
The 11 countries in Asia and the Pacific that comprise the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership agreed to let Britain join the free-trade pact.
The British government hailed this as a big post-Brexit win, but the gains to the British economy will be small, if not negligible.
The euro zone’s annual rate of inflation slowed significantly in March, to 6.9% from 8.5% the previous month.
However, core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices and which economists worry about most at the moment, hit a new high of 5.7%.
Australia’s central bank left its key interest rate unchanged at 3.6%, after a round of ten consecutive rises since May.
Philip Lowe, the bank’s governor, recognised that “monetary policy operates with a lag” and the rate increases had yet to be felt.
But he also said that some further tightening may be needed to bring down inflation.