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Asian shares are mostly lower as markets shrug off a Wall Street rally and await the congressional testimony of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. The Japanese yen slipped to 136 to the dollar. Oil prices also were lower. Stocks ended higher Tuesday on Wall Street after reopening from a holiday on Monday. Last week, the Fed hiked its key short-term interest rate by the most since 1994, the central bank’s latest effort to tame the worst inflation in 40 years. The S&P 500 rose 2.4% on Tuesday, recouping about 40% of last week's losses. More than 85% of the stocks in the benchmark index gained ground. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.1% and the Nasdaq climbed 2.5%.
The trade association for U.S. nuclear plant operators says it hopes to nearly double their output over the next three decades. Those plans hang on the functionality of a new type of nuclear reactor that’s far smaller than traditional reactors. The industry is generating less electricity as reactors retire. Even so, utilities that are members of the Nuclear Energy Institute project they could add 90 gigawatts of nuclear power with the bulk of that coming online by 2050. That translates to about 300 new small modular reactors. The institute's president will talk about doubling U.S. nuclear output in a speech Tuesday to industry leaders and policymakers.
European benchmarks are higher after most Asian markets retreated, while the price of bitcoin hovered near $20,000. U.S. futures advanced and oil prices fell back early Monday. China kept its 1-year and 5-year loan prime rates unchanged as it struggles to spur a recovery while keeping coronavirus outbreaks under control. U.S. markets will be closed for the Juneteenth holiday and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is set to testify before Congress later in the week. The price of bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency bounced during the weekend, at one point plunging nearly 10% to under $18,600, according to the cryptocurrency news site CoinDesk.
British journalist Dom Phillips’ quest to unlock the secrets of how to preserve Brazil’s Amazon was cut short when he was killed along with a colleague in the heart of the forest he cherished. But some of his discoveries may yet see the light of day. Phillips had finished several chapters of a book called “How to Save the Amazon.” His wife says she hopes at least part can be published. Phillips’ death has brought calls for justice from Brazil and abroad from actors, musicians and athletes. Phillips would be gobsmacked to learn that his fate has troubled current and former U.K. prime ministers.
Russian hostilities in Ukraine are preventing grain from leaving the “breadbasket of the world.” That is making food more expensive across the globe and threatening to worsen shortages, hunger and political instability in developing countries. World food prices were already climbing, and the war made things worse, preventing some 20 million tons of Ukrainian grain from getting to the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Asia. Weeks of negotiations on safe corridors to get grain out of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports have made little progress, with urgency rising as the summer harvest season arrives.
Small Italian fashion producers are still allowed to export to Russia despite sanctions, as long as the wholesale price is under 300 euros. But they are having a hard time getting paid due to restrictions tied to the financial sector. Italy is the largest producer of global luxury goods in the world, making 40% of high-end apparel, footwear and accessories. While Russia generates just about 3% of Italian luxury’s $101 billion in annual revenue, industry officials say it is a significant slice of business for hundreds of small and medium Italian fashion companies that cater to Russian customers.
Wall Street closed out its most punishing week since the 2020 coronavirus crash with a meandering day of trading Friday that left it a bit higher. The S&P 500 rose 0.2%. That was nowhere near enough to make up for big earlier losses, and the index fell to its tenth drop in the last 11 weeks. Markets around the world have shuddered as investors adjust to the bitter medicine of higher interest rates that central banks are increasingly doling out. Higher rates can bring down inflation, but they also risk a recession by slowing the economy and push down on investment prices.
Asian stock markets are mostly lower after Wall Street fell on fears interest rate hikes will depress global economic activity. Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney fell. Shanghai and Hong Kong advanced. Oil prices edged lower but stayed above $115 per barrel. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index tumbled 3.3% after Britain’s central bank followed the Federal Reserve in raising its key interest rate to cool surging price rises. Central banks in Switzerland and Taiwan also raised rates. Investors worry the moves to control inflation that is running at four-decade highs might tip the U.S. and other major economies into recession.
Rich countries including the European Union and the United States have pushed back against efforts to put financial help for poor nations suffering the devastating effects of global warming firmly on the agenda for this year’s U.N. climate summit. Observers and campaigners attending a ten-day preparatory meeting in Germany expressed frustration Thursday at the resistance shown by developed nations to formally discussing how poor countries can get more aid when they’re hit by climate disasters. Delegates from developing countries had hoped growing awareness of the severe economic cost that global warming is already having for billions of people around the world would help move the needle on an issue that has long split rich and poor nations.
Asian shares have advanced after the Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by three-quarters of a point and signaled more rate hikes were coming to fight inflation. Wall Street rallied after the Fed's hike, the biggest since 1994, as investors took heart from Chair Jerome Powell's comments suggesting future rate increases may be more modest. The Bank of Japan is holding a two-day policy meeting, starting Thursday. The Japanese central bank is under pressure to act given downward pressures on the yen from U.S. rate hikes and super-low rates in Japan. Investors have been selling yen and buying dollars in anticipation of higher yields from dollar-denominated holdings.