Several people were arrested as anti-COVID lockdown protests were held in China’s largest city, Shanghai, on Sunday. Protesters called for the end of the Chinese Communist Party and for President Xi Jinping to resign.
Futures for the Dow Jones industrials fell 0.5 per cent and the S&P slipped 0.7 per cent.
Crude prices neared a low point for the year partially due to unrest in China, and have fallen for three consecutive weeks. Crude prices are now negative for 2022 and, after soaring above US$120 in June, a barrel of benchmark U.S. crude can now be had for less than US$74 per barrel.
The upheaval in China is the greatest show of public dissent against the ruling Communist Party in decades. Protestors are railing against policies aimed at eradicating the coronavirus by isolating every case, a policy that may have contributed to the death toll in an apartment fire in Urumqi in the northwestern Xinjiang region.
“For investors, when it comes to China, trying to predict with any degree the reopening certainty that has no certainty, basis, or track record to go by is looking like a dangerous game in the context of the disquieting protests and the colossal challenge China’s leaders now have on their hands,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a commentary.
Rising numbers of COVID-19 cases could further disrupt manufacturing and transport, adding to headaches over supply chains and inflation.
Apple fell almost two per cent in premarket trading as the China manufacturing closures have hit the iPhone maker especially hard. Apple had been warning of shortages for its latest model, the iPhone 14, since early this month. Analysts now say those shortages could be even worse than previously thought.
Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities said Monday that disruptions in China could cut the number of available Apple’s iPhone 14 models between five per cent and 10 per cent this quarter, with some Apple stores seeing inventory shortages of up to 40 per cent.
“The reality is that Apple is extremely limited in their options for holiday season and are at the mercy of China’s zero Covid policy which remains a very frustrating situation for Apple as well as the Street,” Ives wrote in a note to clients.
Casino operators in China who also have been negatively impacted by China’s strict COVID-19 policies finally got some good news as Macao tentatively renewed the casino licenses of MGM Resorts, Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts. Shares in the Las Vegas-based companies all rose between 2 per cent and 6 per cent in premarket.
In Europe at midday, Germany’s DAX and the CAC 40 in Paris each lost 0.9 per cent, while Britain’s FTSE 100 gave up 0.4 per cent.
In Asian trading Monday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.6 per cent to 17,297.94 and the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.8 per cent to 3,078.55.
Shares in telecoms equipment maker ZTE fell 4.2 per cent after U.S. regulators banned sales of its products in the U.S.
The Federal Communications Commission said Friday it was banning the sale of communications equipment made by ZTE and Huawei Technologies and restricting the use of some China-made video surveillance systems, citing an “unacceptable risk”’ to national security.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index shed 0.4 per cent to 28,162.83 and the Kospi in Seoul lost 1.2 per cent to 2,408.27. In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.4 per cent to 7,229.10 following the release of weaker than expected retail sales data.
Bangkok’s SET was 0.2 per cent lower while the Sensex in Mumbai added 0.3 per cent.
There are a number of highly anticipated economic indicators coming out this week. The Conference Board business group will release its report on consumer confidence and the U.S. releases its data on November employment on Friday.
Anxiety is riding high over the ability of the Federal Reserve to tame the hottest inflation in decades by raising interest rates without going too far and causing a recession.
The central bank’s benchmark rate currently stands at 3.75 per cent to 4 per cent, up from close to zero in March. It has warned it may have to ultimately raise rates to previously unanticipated levels to rein in high prices on everything from food to clothing.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will speak at the Brookings Institution about the outlook for the U.S. economy and the labor market on Wednesday.
U.S. benchmark crude oil slid US$2.40, falling to US$73.88 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and has now fallen for three consecutive weeks.
Brent crude, which is used to price oil for international trading, sank US$2.60 to US$81.11per barrel.
The dollar fell to 138.32 Japanese yen from 139.28 yen. The euro rose to US$1.0474 from US$1.0379.
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