By Lorcan Roche Kelly
Hong Kong has seen one of its most violent days since June, with clashes between demonstrators and police intensifying after an officer shot a protester during an early morning scuffle. Video emerged of a man doused with petrol and set on fire, with both victims in intensive care. Banks sent employees home early after police fired tear gas in the financial district, and the Hang Seng Index dropped 2.6% — the most since early August. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam called for calm, saying violence would not achieve the protesters’ goals.
Peak oil (demand)
Saudi Aramco’s prospectus provided a detailed IPO timetable for the world’s most profitable company, with investors allowed to start bidding for shares from Nov. 17 and a final price set for Dec. 5. Of more interest to the oil market might be the assessment included in the prospectus that global oil demand may peak within the next 20 years, a suggestion which had long been dismissed by Saudi officials. Other risk factors cited include political unrest, government policy, climate change concerns and FX risk. In what we are *sure* is just coincidental timing, Iran announced the discovery of a mammoth 53 billion barrel oil field over the weekend.
Spain’s election over the weekend failed to do anything to break the political deadlock in the country. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialist Party lost some ground while one of his coalition partners was obliterated as the nationalist Vox party emerged as a big winner from the poll. Bolivian President Evo Morales resigned after weeks of protests following the Oct. 20 election led to an intervention from the country’s armed forces over the weekend. There was some good news for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the campaign trail as data showed the U.K. avoided falling into recession in the third quarter. In the U.S. the back and forth over the impeachment inquiry continues apace.
Protests in Hong Kong are weighing on markets which were already showing some nerves about progress on a U.S.-China trade deal. Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.7% while Japan’s Topix index eked out a 0.1% gain despite a strengthening yen. In Europe the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.4% lower at 5:40 a.m. Eastern Time. S&P 500 futures pointed to a drop at the open, U.S. Treasury trading is closed for Veteran’s Day, and gold was recovering some of its recent losses.
Good day, bad day
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has logged more than 215 billion yuan ($30.7 billion) of purchases during the Singles’ Day event, exceeding last year’s record about two-thirds into the 24-hour shopping marathon. Things are not going so well for Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s new Apple Card after Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak added his voice to criticisms of potential discrimination by the lender on gender grounds. A Wall Street regulator has already opened a probe into the bank’s practices after David Heinemeier Hansson railed against the Apple Card for giving him 20 times the credit limit that his wife got.