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- Asian stocks rose early on Monday after the prospect of an imminent interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve faded after Friday’s weaker-than-expected U.S. employment data. U.S. stock indexes jumped over 1 percent on Friday as worries about the economy after the disappointing jobs report gave way to a robust rally in energy and materials stocks.
- The dollar nursed losses on Monday, edging away from a near two-week low against a basket of currencies it marked in the previous session after weak U.S. jobs data led traders to pare bets that the Federal Reserve was poised to hike interest rates as early as this month. Data released Friday showed U.S. non-farm payrolls rose by 142,000 in September, considerably lower than the 203,000 jobs the markets had expected. The lacklustre jobs report, which also showed a stall in U.S. hourly wage growth, fueled doubts that the economy was robust enough to withstand a rate hike before year-end. The possibility of the Fed delaying the lift-off date for rates also meant its loose policy, which has helped shore up risk assets globally by providing cheap cash, would continue a little longer. In contrast with the Fed, some investors believe the Bank of Japan could unveil further easing steps as early as the conclusion of its next policy meeting on Wednesday, which has curbed the yen’s upside.
- Crude prices edged up on Monday after Russia said it was prepared to meet other producers to discuss the situation in the global oil market, while a report showed a fifth weekly decline in the U.S. oil rig count. Russia’s energy minister said on Saturday that it was ready to meet with OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers to discuss global oil markets if such a meeting was called. He said a separate meeting between Russian and Saudi officials was being planned for the end of October. U.S. energy firms reduced the number of oil rigs by 26 in the latest week, the biggest cut since April and the fifth straight weekly fall, data showed on Friday, a sign low prices were pushing drillers away from the well pad. The cutback brought the total rig count down to 614, the least since August 2010. Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency, said on Friday said that global oil investments this year are on track to drop by 20 percent, marking their biggest decline in history as a halving in oil prices has hit energy companies’ revenue.
- Saudi Arabia, however, is continuing with its investments in the oil and gas industry as well as solar energy despite the current drop in oil prices, the kingdom’s oil minister was quoted as saying on Friday. On the geopolitical front, tensions have intensified as Russian planes have flown 20 sorties in Syria and struck 10 Islamic State targets in the past 24 hours, the country’s defense ministry said in a statement on Sunday. Russia has said it would step up air strikes in Syria, escalating a military intervention that Western powers say aims to support President Bashar al-Assad. A committee of Iran’s conservative-dominated parliament gave its support on Sunday to Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers on condition there would be no foreign inspections of military sites and no curbs on developing its missile program. The United Arab Emirates is moving ahead with its oil and gas investments despite the current drop in oil prices and expects no delays in plans to boost its crude output potential by 2017, the country’s energy minister said on Sunday.