LONDON: European markets slid today on the back of sharp Asian losses and overnight on Wall Street, as concern grew over the US economic outlook, dealers said.
With Wall Street closed on a US national day of mourning for the funeral of former president George H.W. Bush, European stocks tanked as investors faced a raft of problems from trade to Brexit that erased the positive start to the week when sharp gains were made after the US and China appeared ready to dial down their trade war.
After US President Donald Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping moved to a truce in their trade spat, Trump tweeted that he saw “very strong signals being sent by China,” after Beijing acknowledged a 90-day deadline to reach a tariffs agreement.
For Capital Economics, the two leaders “seem to have different understandings of what they have agreed. But the deal has, at least, paused the escalation of the dispute”.
European markets were not cheered, however, with London, Frankfurt, and Paris all off around one percent some two hours from the close as the uncertainty from Britain’s ongoing Brexit saga continued unabated.
“European stock markets are firmly in the red following the major losses incurred on Wall Street,” said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.
“From a political and economic point of view, not much has changed, but investor confidence has been shaken in light of the move in the US yesterday, and that is playing on investors’ minds.”
Wall Street had been pummelled Tuesday, the Dow losing 3.1 percent amid worries over slowing US growth and the trade spat with China.
While Trump hailed the deal at first, on Tuesday he warned on Twitter “remember, I am a Tariff Man”, adding: “When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so.”.
In another tweet, he left open the door to an extension of the agreement’s 90-day timeline to end the row.
China’s commerce ministry Wednesday called the pact “successful” and said it “will start with the implementation of the specific matters in which consensus has been reached, the sooner the better.”
Concerns are also mounting about the US economy as short-term and long-term money market rates moved closer together, stoking fears of “inversion”.
If the process continues and short-term rates overtake long-term, it is often taken as a clear precursor to a recession.
The pound continued to struggle on concerns Britain could leave the EU without a deal, which most observers fear could hammer the economy.
Sterling had briefly hit a 17-month-low at $1.2659 after Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a series of stunning defeats in parliament that highlighted the fight she has in passing her Brexit deal.
If she loses there are expectations she will face a no-confidence vote and a defeat that could force early elections, leaving the country in chaos.
“May’s triple defeats in parliament are highly discouraging and may intensify fears over her Brexit deal being rejected next week,” said FXTM analyst Lukman Otunuga.
Separately, oil prices extended losses after another jump in US inventories and as Saudi Arabia raised questions about the chances of an output cut at a meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC members this week.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said it was “premature to say what will happen” in Vienna, days after Russian President Vladimir Putin had said the pair had agreed to maintain a production cap.
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 1.0 percent at 6,949.62 points
Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.9 percent at 11,233.60
Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.9 percent at 4,960.84
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 1.0 percent at 3,158.34
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.5 percent at 21,919.33 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 1.6 percent at 26,819.68 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.6 percent at 2,649.81 (close)
New York – Dow Jones: CLOSED (Tuesday close 25,027.07 close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1333 from $1.1343 at 2200 GMT
Dollar/yen: UP at 113.17 yen from 112.77
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2728 from $1.2719
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 24 cents at $53.49 per barrel
Oil – Brent Crude: UP 22 cents at $62.12
Iran favors $5b trade volume with Pakistan
TEHRAN: Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Reza Rahmani called for raising the volume of trade exchanges with Pakistan to $5 billion by 2021.
Addressing a ceremony marking Pakistan Day in Tehran on Wednesday, he hoped the goal will be materialized by establishing banking ties and finalization of free trade memorandum of understanding.
He said that Iran and Pakistan boast of numerous commonalities in various sphere including religion, culture and history.
“Iran-Pakistan ties as old as the country’s independence and the two regional big countries’ relations have always been friendly and excellent,” he said.
Iran was the first country which recognized independence of Pakistan and established embassy in Islamabad, Rahmani said, describing Pakistan as major gateway for Iran to enter to the East.
“Iran is also a country with numerous economic potentials,” he said, noting that Iran’s economy and market will not be ignored by the economic activists and political officials.
The two countries are able to develop collaboration in the fields of agriculture, foodstuff, tourism, pharmaceuticals and sports.
Ceremony marking Pakistan National Day attended by diplomats from certain countries including France, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Cuba, Armenia and Palestine was held in Tehran.
Tokyo bourse opens modestly higher
TOKYO: The bourse opened here marginally higher today with help from a cheaper yen, but investors were cautious ahead of Easter holidays on overseas markets.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.05 percent or 11.42 points at 22,289.39, while the broader Topix index climbed 0.09 percent or 1.48 points at 1,632.16.
Bahawalpur: FOB compiles reports for reforms
BAHAWALPUR: The Secretary, Federal Ombudsman Secretariat and National Commissioner on Children have said that the office of the Wafaqi Mohtasib had compiled reports to recommend recommendations to bring reforms to address maladministration in government departments.
Secretary, Federal Ombudsman Secretariat, Dr. Jamal Nasir and Senior Advisor/ National Commissioner For Children, Ejaz Ahmed Qureshi were addressing a news conference at the regional office of Wafaqi Mohtasib here in Bahawalpur.
They said that following the Swedish ombudsman system, the office of Ombudsman was established in Pakistan to ensure the provision of relief to people in connection with their complaints against federal government departments.
They said that during the last few years, the office of Wafaqi Mohtasib disposed of 75,000 complaints/cases. “Most of the complaints were registered against Wapda, electric companies, Sui Southern and Sui northern gas companies and National Data Registration Authority.
They said that with reviewing the registered complaints, the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat had also been compiling reports to recommend recommendations for bringing reforms in federal government departments and agencies to address the issue of maladministration and corruption.
They said that the office of Federal Ombudsman had also powers to listen to complaints against National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
They, however, said that if applications/petitions were submitted in courts against NAB and FIA, then the courts would listen to those cases and would dispose of them.
They said that the Federal Ombudsman had powers of the judge of Supreme Court and he could take suo moto notice against any federal government departments and agencies. “The Federal Ombudsman after founding negligence of officials of federal departments can recommend inquiry and other departmental actions against them,” they said.
They said that 13 offices of the Federal Ombudsman were working in the country including Bahawalpur office which could listen to complaints against federal departments and agencies lodged by people of Bahawalpur, Rahimyar Khan, Lodhran and Bahawalnagar.
They said that Bahawalpur and other neighboring districts had populations in millions, adding that but, the average number of registered complaints with the local office of the Federal Ombudsman in Bahawalpur was 100 per month. They requested the media to highlight the importance and role of Federal Ombudsman so that maximum number of people could move to the local office of Federal Ombudsman in Bahawalpur to get relief on issues and problems pertaining to federal government and departments.
Meanwhile, according to a report issued by the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat Regional Office Bahawalpur, 624 applications/complaints were registered against federal government agencies including Multan Electric Company (MEPCO), Pakistan Post Office (PPO), Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL), State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan (SLICP) and others. The Bahawalpur office of Wafaqi Mohtasib had disposed of 602 of them.