Wednesday, July 24, 2024

LIVE NEWS: Hollywood Writers Guild ends strike after winning new 3-year contract

Tight supply and interest rate concerns are pushing up oil prices

OPEC, a cartel of petroleum producers, has forecast a supply shortfall this year, while improving economic data from the US and China indicated global demand would rise. © Dolka Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

Crude oil prices rose on Wednesday on fears of tightening supplies and rising interest rates.

International benchmark Brent crude rose 0.9 percent to $94.78, while U.S. equivalent West Texas Intermediate rose by the same margin to $91.18.

OPEC, the cartel of petroleum producers, is forecasting a supply shortfall this year, while signs of better economic performance in the US and China have boosted expectations for global demand.

Those considerations outweigh concerns over hawkish U.S. Federal Reserve warnings that interest rates may be higher than initially expected.

Hollywood Writers Guild ends strike after securing new 3-year contract

The Writers Guild of America has secured a new three-year contract following a nearly 150-day strike, meaning Hollywood can now focus on ending the actors’ strike.

The guild’s western and eastern units voted to accept a deal with the studios. It then said the strike would end one minute after midnight on Wednesday.

Writers have had amazing successes in using artificial intelligence. Studios and streamers have agreed to pay writers higher residuals or royalties depending on how well the streaming shows do.

Members of the 160,000-strong Screen Actors Guild are on strike, but there is growing hope that talks will resume now that the writers’ strike is over.

Australia’s inflation rate is being accelerated by higher food and petrol prices

Jars of Vegemite spread sit on a shelf in a grocery store in Melbourne
Australia’s inflation rate rose as food and petrol prices rose, the official statistics agency said on Wednesday. © Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg

Australia’s inflation rate accelerated in the 12 months to August, as food and petrol prices rose, according to official data released on Wednesday.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said the consumer price index rose to 5.2 per cent from 4.9 per cent in July. Annual inflation is below the December 2022 peak of 8.4 percent, the ABS noted.

Robert Cornell, head of Asia-Pacific research at ING, attributed the rise to “a combination of core effects depreciation, and higher petrol and food prices” after a “surprising decline” in July from 5.4 percent in June.

What to see in Asia today

Capital Markets: Dubai Financial Market, the UAE stock exchange, is hosting its third International Investor Roadshow of the year in Singapore. “We are seeing strong appetite from global investors looking to access emerging capital markets in Dubai,” said Hamad Ali, chief executive of DFM and Nasdaq Dubai. That is why we have decided to hold our third roadshow this year in Singapore. DFM was presented to investors in January in New York and in June in London.

Events: Howard Lee, deputy chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, is a keynote speaker at the structured product finance conference ABS Asia, which will return post-Covid to the JW Marriott in Hong Kong. The two-day fintech festival opens at Siam Paragon in Bangkok. The Bank of Japan publishes minutes of its July monetary policy meeting.

Economic data: Australia releases August inflation figures, while Chinese industrial profits and Japanese machine tool orders are released in the same month.

US Senate to propose government funding deal ahead of deadline

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill.
US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill. He said the deal would fund the government until mid-November © Maryam Zuhaib/AP

US Senate leaders have struck a deal to keep funding the federal government and avoid a shutdown ahead of this weekend’s deadline, but the compromise measure faces an uncertain future in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, announced the deal late Tuesday. The “temporary solution” would fund the government until mid-November and provide billions of dollars to support the war effort in Ukraine and provide disaster relief to parts of the United States devastated by wildfires and floods.

Democrats, who control the Senate by a razor-thin margin, are expected to approve the deal in the coming days.

Costco says retail theft is not a ‘major problem’ after better-than-expected results

Retail theft is not a “major issue” at Costco, the company said Tuesday after it beat Wall Street’s earnings expectations.

Richard Kelanti, the company’s chief financial officer, told analysts that shrinkage — an industry term that includes shoplifting, employee theft, organized retail crime and process errors — increased a few percentage points year over year, likely due to higher usage. Self-checking technology. He said theft levels are already low.

The comments come as Target announced on Tuesday it was closing nine stores due to high levels of “theft and organized retail crime.”

Costco earned $4.86 per share in its fourth quarter on revenue of $78.9bn, up 8.6 per cent year-on-year.

Donald Trump committed fraud by inflating real estate values, New York judge rules

Donald Trump, center, greets attendees of the 2022 event at the Mar-a-Lago Club
Donald Trump greeted attendees at the 2022 event at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, center, a New York judge said. © Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg

A New York judge ruled Tuesday that Donald Trump, his eldest sons and his business organization were responsible for wildly inflating the value of properties in Manhattan and Mar-a-Lago, as well as golf courses in the United States and Scotland.

Judge Arthur Engron on Tuesday ruled that the former president and his associates engaged in what “can only be considered fraud” and issued sanctions against Trump’s lawyers. A jury will decide the punishments, he said.

The order was issued days before a lawsuit brought by the New York Attorney General was scheduled to go to trial.

Read more about Trump’s real estate Here.

US stocks sank on the prospect of extended high interest rates

On Tuesday, global stocks sold off as investors braced for a long wait for higher interest rates, while the dollar rose to a 10-month high and Treasuries sold off.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 fell 1.5 percent, while the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite fell 1.6 percent, both hitting their lowest levels since early June.

The recent slide in stocks comes as investors have raised expectations that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates high for longer. Bets on rate cuts in the coming year eased as traders fretted over whether the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise interest rates by an additional quarter-point in a policy-tightening cycle.

Read more about market movements Here.

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