Market Talk – Tuesday, Jan. 28

ASIA:

Global firms are stopping staff travel to China and urging their workers inside the country to stay out of the office as coronavirus has continued to spread from the central city of Wuhan to the rest of China and beyond. HSBC has banned all staff from traveling to Hong Kong for two weeks and to mainland China until further notice. Standard Chartered is also restricting travel to China and Hong Kong and asked their staff to work from home for 14 days after their return. Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs has told staff who have visited mainland China to work from home for the next fortnight. The virus has spooked stock markets over the past week amid the growing threat to the global economy. Airlines, hotel groups, and luxury goods firms have been among the worst hit.

Senior diplomat Taranjit Singh Sandhu will be the next Indian Ambassador to the United States. Mr. Sandhu, a 1988 batch officer of the Indian Foreign Service, is the current Indian envoy to Sri Lanka and will succeed Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who will take charge as the Foreign Secretary on Wednesday.

Qatar initially declined India’s request to delink the price of its imported gas from that of oil under long-term deals. India requested this negotiation in order to make supplies cheaper for price-sensitive customers after a sharp fall in spot prices of the cleaner fuel. “The current formula of benchmarking gas prices with crude oil is not correct,” India’s Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, said after meeting industry officials including Qatar’s energy minister, Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, and Indian state-owned oil company officials. Kaabi said Qatar would not renegotiate pricing under the existing contracts and was ready to supply more gas to meet India’s growing demand for gas. Indian officials at the meeting said the negotiations had only started and will go on for some time. Qatar is the world’s largest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and wants to boost its production of LNG to 126 mtpa by 2027 and India is leading buyer of Qatari LNG.

The major Asian stock markets had a negative day today:

  • Shanghai closed
  • Kospi decreased from 69.41 points or -3.09% to 2,176.72
  • ASX 200 decreased 96.00 points or -1.35% to 6,994.50
  • NIKKEI 225 decreased 127.80 points or -0.55% to 23,215.71
  • Hang Seng closed
  • SENSEX decreased 188.26 points or -0.46% to 40,966.86
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