June 21, 2017
There’s a royal reordering in Saudi Arabia, the Queen is set to outline May’s parliamentary agenda, and oil continues to slide. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has replaced his cousin as the next in line to the country’s throne, a move that consolidates the 31-year-old leader’s growing power. King Salman, 81, also retroactively reinstated all allowances and bonuses that were canceled or suspended to civil servants and military personnel. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index rose 4.1 percent by 5:30 a.m. after MSCI Inc. also opened the way for Saudi Arabian stocks to be included in its gages.
At 6:30 a.m. Eastern Time, Queen Elizabeth II will read out Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit-heavy legislative agenda for the next two years. Parliament will debate the contents of the speech for a week before holding a vote on it, which May is still not certain to win as she has yet to reach an agreement on forming a government with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party. The pound dropped below $1.26 for the first time since April in trading this morning as traders see many risks on the horizon. In U.S. politics, Democrat John Ossoff failed to win an open House election in Georgia in a race that was seen as a possible referendum on the Trump agenda.
Oil holds near lows
A barrel of West Texas Intermediate for August delivery was trading firmly in bear market territory at $43.37 as of 5:30 a.m. Yesterday’s sell off, which is variously being blamed on Libya and high floating storage, remains a story of oversupply. For Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince, higher oil prices will be needed to push ahead with his reform plan for the country’s economy, with analysts forecasting that he will most likely maintain OPEC’s production cuts.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index dropped 0.4 percent, while shares in Shanghai fluctuated between gains and losses following news that MSCI had decided to include Chinese stocks in its benchmark indexes. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.7 percent lower at 5:40 a.m., with all industry groups falling, adding to yesterday’s energy-producer led slump. U.S. stock futures also lost ground.
Taxi for Kalanick
Uber Technologies Inc. Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick has resigned following pressure from investors after a series of controversies rocked the world’s largest technology startup and exposed a problematic male-dominated culture at the company. While Kalanick may have been brought down to earth, there are no such problems for Chinese social media giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., best known for its WeChat app, which has made a trio of investments in companies focused on outer space.