The Week In Numbers: A Very Short Trading Day

A 12-year low – that is how far oil prices fell to this week, before recovering to an 11-1/2 low. Oil prices sank to below US$33 after the US dollar rose and China allowed its currency to slip. This raised global concerns that the world’s second-largest economy was not doing quite as well as it claims to be. How much lower can oil go?

In a bid to stem the outflow of money from China, the central bank has suspended three banks from conducting some foreign exchange business. According to Reuters, they are Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank and DBS Group (SGX: D05). Reuters also said a spokesman and a spokeswoman from Standard Chartered and DBS respectively, declined to comment.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange was open for all of 29 minutes on Thursday. At the start of trading, panic selling sent the index reeling by as much as 7%, which triggered circuit breakers that halted trading for the day.

The mechanism, which is intended to help stabilise stocks, ended up having the opposite effect – it created even more panic. The draconian circuit breakers have since been suspended. China still has a lot to learn about how the stock market works.

The US of A created 292,000 jobs in December, which was a lot better than forecast. Economists had expected 200,000 jobs to be generated. The unemployment rate held steady at 5%, which should lend support to the Federal Reserve’s decision to start raising interest rates.

And finally, an American violinist left her $2.6 million 1727 Stradivarius on a German train by mistake. The 20 year-old was mightily relieved when police managed to locate the instrument in the last section of the train, just one minute before it departed.

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