By ETimes

CURRENCIES

The Australian dollar appreciated past $0.73 on Thursday, as stronger-than-expected employment numbers reinforced market expectations for an early rise in interest rates. The Japanese yen steadied around 114.18 per dollar on Thursday, clinging to gains over the past two sessions, as the Bank of Japan flagged broadening inflationary pressures on its quarterly outlook report. The offshore Yuan rose toward 6.35 per dollar on Thursday amid strong seasonal corporate demand, even after the Chinese central bank cut the country’s benchmark lending rates.
 
COMMODITIES


Gold prices steadied near 2-month highs to around $1,846 an ounce on Thursday, after jumping about 1.5% in the previous session, lifted by inflation concerns and increased safe-haven demand. Silver broke above $24.55 per troy ounce for the first time in over two months, as investors piled into safe havens amid concerns over soaring inflation and escalating Russian-Ukraine tensions. Copper futures bounced back to $4.54 per tonne, approaching a three-month high of $4.57 touched earlier in the month on optimism over future demand from top consumer China.
 
EQUITIES


US stocks rebounded on Thursday, with the Dow Jones adding more than 400 points, the S&P 500 rising more than 1%, and the Nasdaq surging 2%.  The FTSE 100 closed lower on Thursday, as investors continued to worry about high inflation, slow growth, and rising interest rates. The Shanghai Composite fell 0.09% on Thursday, as mainland stocks failed to build on early gains while traders mulled the latest policy moves by the Chinese central bank.
 
GLOBAL NEWS IN BRIEF
 
AMERICA
 
U.S. Oil Stockpiles Rose 0.5M Barrels Last week: EIA
 
U.S. oil stockpiles unexpectedly rose in the latest week, the Energy Information Administration said on Thursday. Crude inventories rose by 0.515 million barrels last week, compared with analysts’ expectations for a draw of 0.93 million barrels. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, dropped 1.431 million barrels in the week against expectations for a draw of 0.85 million barrels, the EIA data showed – Investing.com
 
American Airlines reports $931 million fourth-quarter loss
 
American Airlines lost $931 million in the fourth quarter and the incoming CEO said Thursday that the surge in COVID-19 will delay the airline’s recovery by two or three months. First-quarter revenue is expected to be down about 20% to 22% compared with the first quarter of 2019, and it will fly slightly less than it did two years ago, the airline said – abc News
 
ASIA
 
Indonesia to push for new global health agency, President Joko Widodo says

Indonesia will push for the creation of a new global health agency while the country holds the presidency of the G20, President Joko Widodo said Thursday (Jan 20) at the virtual Davos forum. Widodo said the agency would strengthen the world’s “health resilience” and help make the global health system more inclusive and more responsive to crises – CAN
 
Exports could be key driver for China’s growth as Covid drags down spending, say analysts
 
Exports will continue to drive China’s economy for the rest of the year as the domestic market remains sluggish, according to analysts. Chinese leaders have indicated for many years that they want to move away from exports as the main source of growth and toward domestic consumption for sustainable economic growth, said Mattie Bekink, China director at the Economist Intelligence Corporate Network – CNBC
 
EUROPE
 
Europe threatens ‘massive’ sanctions if Russia attacks Ukraine
 
The European Union threatened “massive” economic sanctions if Moscow attacks Ukraine, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken rallied allies ahead of last-ditch crisis talks with Russia aimed at preventing war. We explain how Western sanctions might target Russia, and look at how a Russian troop buildup has sparked an unintended NATO renewal – Reuters
 
Munich church abuse report leaves Pope Benedict exposed
 
Irish Catholic priests and bishops will never forget Pope Benedict XVI’s scorching letter from March 2010 saying their action – and inaction – on clerical sexual child abuse had “obscured the light of the Gospel” in Ireland “to a degree that not even centuries of persecution succeeded in doing”. On Thursday the now retired pope and former Cardinal Ratzinger was confronted with his own action – and inaction – in his four years as archbishop of Munich until 1982, with potentially vast consequences for German Catholics and the fractured global church – IrishTimes
 
France: Farmers ordered to cull 2.5 million animals after outbreaks of bird flu
 
France’s government has ordered farmers to cull a total of 2.5 million animals after a number of outbreaks of bird flu. More than one million additional birds will now need to be slaughtered in the southwest of the country, the French Agricultural Ministry said on Thursday. All ducks, chickens, and turkeys on farms in 226 different towns will have to be culled within the next three weeks. Around 1.2 million birds have already been killed since late November due to infection or as a precautionary measure after a rapid spread of the disease – Euronews
 
MIDDLE EAST
 
Sequoia Capital India makes Gulf debut with $33 million investment in Saudi fintech Lean Technologies
 
Saudi fintech start-up Lean Technologies has won a $33 million Series A round funding injection from Sequoia Capital India, marking the firm’s first foray into investing in the Arab Gulf region. Sequoia Capital India’s fund is in the same family as U.S.-based venture capital giant Sequoia, which has previously backed Google and Stripe. Its fund is independent, however, and its capital commitment to the Saudi fintech’s Series A round is joined by other international investors including New York-based Liberty City Ventures and former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt – CNBC
 
Emirates to again fly Boeing 777 to US as 5G rollout slowed
 
Long-haul carrier Emirates said Thursday it will resume its Boeing 777 flights to the U.S. after halting its use of the aircraft there over concerns new 5G services in America could interfere with airplane technology that measures altitude. International carriers that rely heavily on the wide-body Boeing 777, and other Boeing aircraft, canceled early flights or switched to different planes Wednesday following warnings from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Chicago-based plane maker over possible interference with radio altimeters – AP
 
AFRICA
 
Liberian stampede kills 29 people
 
A stampede at a Christian prayer gathering in Liberia’s capital Monrovia has killed at least 29 people, including 11 children and a pregnant woman, officials said on Thursday. The disaster occurred in the poor suburb of New Kru Town on Wednesday night or during the early hours of Thursday morning, according to media in the West African country – lOL
 
Africa CDC chief calls for COVID vaccines with longer shelf life
 
Africa’s top public health bodies have called for donated COVID-19 vaccines to come with a shelf life of three to six months so countries could plan their rollouts and avoid a situation where doses expire. John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said 2.8 million doses of vaccine had expired on the continent, roughly 0.5 percent of the 572 million doses delivered to date. He said 10.4 percent of Africans were fully vaccinated – Aljazeera
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