The Week In Numbers: Wobbly Wednesday

The price of a barrel of oil fell below US$27 this week. The last time that happened was in 2003. The market is concerned that producers collectively pump between one and two million barrels daily in excess of demand. Until supply and demand are brought back into sync, oil prices could continue to be volatile. Not great news for Keppel Corporation (SGX: BN4) or Sembcorp Marine (SGX: S51). So be prepared for more volatility!

The US stock market went on another rollercoaster ride on Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Index slumped 565 points during trading day on “Wobbly Wednesday”, before staging a late rally to close just 250 points lower. The Straits Times Index (SGX: ^STI) sank 79 points.

The Chinese economy grew 6.9% in 2015. That is the slowest rate of economic expansion for nearly a quarter of a century. Industrial production was disappointing but retail sales were up 11.1%, which could suggest that the rebalancing of the economy, whilst painful, is still on track. Some are sceptical. But how many of those critics have ever tried to turn around a US$10 trillion economy?

There was bad news for Singapore exporters. The Garden City’s Non-oil domestic exports fell 7.2% from a year ago. That was lower than the previous month’s exports and much worse than market expectations. Sales to China dropped nearly 19%, while shipments to Europe fell around 3%. There is now speculation that the central bank could ease monetary policy again.

And finally, police in New York are hunting a shoplifter who pilfered $1,500 worth of Essie brand nail-polish from a drug store. The suspect, who reportedly made off with 190 bottles, is believed to be a man, who was caught on video footage.

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