Oil prices have fallen amid concerns that the spread of the Omicron variant could hurt global economic growth and dampen demand for oil.

After being hammered at the start of the pandemic, global demand for oil has picked up this year. Still, it remains about two million barrels per day below its pre-pandemic level of nearly 101 million barrels per day, according to the International Energy Agency.

The agency said it expects the surge in Covid-19 cases to slow the recovery in demand by reducing air travel and reducing jet fuel consumption. Adding to the pressure on prices, production is on the rise, especially in the United States where drilling activity has accelerated.

Meanwhile, European gas prices are up 3.3% after the flow of Russian gas to Germany through Poland almost fell to zero over the weekend.

Gold prices in London were down, although they have climbed so far in December, thanks to the safe-haven appetite for the yellow metal, said Ipek Ozkardeskaya of Swissquote. Although Ozkardeskaya does not expect any further rally in gold, she said that could change “if there is a significant erosion of risk sentiment and a further liquidation of risk assets.”

Ultimately, the Fed’s tightening monetary policy signals make the dollar a safer haven than gold for now, she added. LME three-month copper futures are down 1% as stock and oil markets tumble and the dollar has risen in recent weeks, making dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for other currency holders.

   
 
 

EMEA SECURITIES

BNP Paribas to sell West Bank to Bank of Montreal for $ 16.3 billion

BNP Paribas SA announced on Monday that it had agreed to sell Bank of the West to BMO Financial Group of Bank of Montreal for a total consideration of $ 16.3 billion in cash.

The sale represents all of BNP Paribas’ retail and commercial banking activities in the United States. About 70% of Bank of the West’s deposits are in California.

   
 
 

The ex-CEO of Telecom Italia leaves his board of directors

Telecom Italia SpA announced on Friday evening that former CEO Luigi Gubitosi had resigned from the board of directors, with immediate effect.

Mr Gubitosi has reached an agreement with the company regarding his departure which includes severance pay of around 6.9 million euros ($ 7.8 million), he said.

   
 
 

Rio Tinto appoints Dominic Barton, Canadian Ambassador to China, as President

ADELAIDE, Australia-Rio Tinto PLC said Dominic Barton, Canada’s Ambassador to China, will become its chairman as the mining company works to repair damage to its reputation from the destruction of two former rock shelters in Australia l ‘last year.

By selecting Mr Barton, who will succeed Simon Thompson in May, Rio Tinto hopes that the skills of a diplomat can help him tackle challenges that include rising resource nationalism in some key markets and investor demands for that mining companies more aggressively tackle the environmental impact of their operations. Rio Tinto also derives most of its revenue from Australia, which is grappling with a trade and diplomatic dispute with China.

   
 
 

Monte dei Paschi to raise $ 2.8 billion for new strategic plan

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA will raise 2.5 billion euros ($ 2.8 billion) through a capital increase next year as part of a new medium-term plan after the Italian government’s efforts to sell the lender to its counterpart UniCredit SpA failed.

The funds from the capital increase will be used to invest in IT, for restructuring expenses and to cover 2020 stress test indications and current capital requirements, MPS said in a statement Friday evening.

   
 
 

Roche grants rights to experimental ocular cell therapy

Roche Holding AG is adding an investigational drug for a blinding eye condition as part of a deal to help the company take cell therapy further.

Roche’s Genentech drugs business said on Monday it had purchased the rights to the eye drug from Lineage Cell Therapeutics Inc. for $ 50 million in cash upfront and additional payments going forward if development milestones, de regulation and sales are met.

   
 
 

Turkey’s currency crisis undermines global Nutella supply chain

GIRESUN, Turkey-Farmers who produce most of the world’s hazelnuts are reeling from a currency crisis that has rocked a supply chain stretching from this town’s jagged hills overlooking the Black Sea to jars of Nutella in supermarket shelves.

Turkey’s hazelnut industry – which employs some four million people who produce 70% of the world’s hazelnuts – is a vivid example of the potential global implications of an economic gamble launched by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who says he wants a weaker Turkish lira to encourage exports and develop productive industry. Lira has lost half of its value this year.

   
 
 

Germany appoints Joachim Nagel as head of central bank

Joachim Nagel is to succeed Jens Weidmann as head of the German Bundesbank, according to the German federal government.

This was announced Monday by Finance Minister Christian Lindner with the following tweet: “Chancellor Olaf Scholz and I propose Joachim Nagel as the new head of the Bundesbank.”

   
 
 

Omicron calls for new Covid-19 restrictions

New restrictions have been put in place in Europe in a bid to stem the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus as a senior US health official has warned the variant is likely to put a strain on US hospitals in the coming weeks.

The fast-spreading variant is already the dominant strain in the UK, according to estimates derived from UK health data, and will only be in a few days in Denmark. Omicron has been detected in 89 countries, and the variant’s Covid-19 cases are doubling every 1.5 to three days in places with community transmission, the World Health Organization said on Saturday.

   
 
 

Iran’s top diplomat in Yemen leaves the country

Iran’s top diplomat in Yemen left the country on Saturday as part of a deal between Houthi militants controlling the capital and Saudi Arabia, regional officials said.

Hassan Irloo, who was smuggled into Yemen last year and appointed Iranian ambassador to Houthi-controlled areas of the country, left in an Iraqi military plane sent to retrieve him, Saudi, Iranian and Houthi officials say .

   
 
 

Europe’s ski slopes are open despite Omicron, at least for now

ALPE DI SIUSI, Italy-In the thin air of the Dolomitic Alps, 7,000 feet above sea level, one can almost forget that the Covid-19 pandemic is still raging.

Skiers from all over Europe ride the ski lifts until dusk. Children hurtle down the slopes behind their monitors. People sip beer at the edge of the trails and snowmobile patrols ply the mountainside.

   
 
 

The world wants green hydrogen. Namibia says it can deliver.

LÜDERITZ, Namibia- This former diamond mining town, perched on the rocky Atlantic coast of this sparsely populated desert nation, experienced its last boom in the early 20th century when diamonds were discovered in nearby dunes.

Namibia is now positioned as a leader in the emerging market of another hot resource: green hydrogen, which is made from renewable electricity.

   
 
 
   
 
 

WORLD NEWS

Is the Fed deflating the outlook for speculative stocks?

Speculation seems to be going out of fashion. Since the beginning of November, the most speculative stocks have been crushed, even as the broad market has reached new highs. Many blame the Federal Reserve, but the link between monetary policy and speculation is less clear than it appears.

Among those losing 20% ​​or more: GameStop and AMC Entertainment ‘meme’ stocks, electric car maker Tesla, hydrogen darling Plug Power, bitcoin, and a host of tiny unprofitable stocks. Companies don’t have much in common, but they all rely on high valuations of buyers willing to bet on a story and have benefited from the increase in the number of individuals trading in stocks. (An astonishing rally of some of the speculative names on Friday failed to mitigate the losses; AMC led with a daily gain of 19%, but is still down a third from early November and is worth a bit. more than half of its peak in June.)

   
 
 

Central Bank of China cuts lending prime rate for first time in 20 months

China’s central bank cut the prime rate on one-year loans amid a slowing economy that was driven by a recession in the real estate sector.

The one-year LPR was lowered to 3.80% from 3.85% and the five-year LPR remained at 4.65%, the People’s Bank of China said on Monday.

   
 
 

Bitcoin’s ‘One Percent’ Controls the Lion’s Share of Cryptocurrency Wealth

It’s good to be 1% bitcoin. Major bitcoin holders control more of the cryptocurrency than US dollar-rich households, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The study showed that the top 10,000 bitcoin accounts hold 5 million bitcoins, which is the equivalent of about $ 232 billion.

   
 
 

China and Biden’s climate goals clash over solar panels

The Biden administration faces a looming decision on solar power tariffs that pits its focus on tackling climate change against its ambition to tackle high-tech manufacturing supply chains from China.

Early next year, US taxes on imported solar panels will expire after a period of four years. Many climate activists and solar energy users want the administration to remove tariffs, saying they make solar panels unnecessarily expensive.

   
 
 

Upcoming Economy Week: Housing, Consumers, Inflation

Data on consumer spending and inflation in the United States highlights this week’s economic calendar.

   
 
 

Himalayan glaciers are melting at breakneck pace, new study finds

Glaciers in the Himalayas are melting at an extraordinary rate, with new research showing that the vast ice caps there have shrunk 10 times faster in the past 40 years than in the previous seven centuries.

(MORE FOLLOWING) Dow Jones Newswires

December 20, 2021 06:35 ET (11:35 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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