Latest news updates: Coal futures fall after Chinese regulator signals price


Rising demand for loans pushes UniCredit profits up 55%

UniCredit reported a 55 per cent rise in profits compared to a year earlier, as the Italian bank set out its first quarterly results after walking away from a deal to buy state-owned rival Monte dei Paschi di Siena last week.

The bank’s €1.1bn of pre-tax profits for the third quarter were 26 per cent ahead of analyst forecasts, while its €4.4bn of revenues were also higher.

UniCredit said it had increased lending across its regional divisions, with the exception of eastern Europe, as the economic recovery had led to a rise in demand for credit.

Andrea Orcel, who has been chief executive of UniCredit for six months, said: “I am pleased to report a robust set of results for the third quarter, reflecting the strength of our franchise, supportive market conditions, increased client activity across all business lines and a powerful economic recovery, which is expected to moderate.”

The bank also said that Orcel would unveil his new strategic plan for the group — which would focus on simplification and digitisation — at an investor day on December 9.

What to watch in Europe today

EU: The European Central Bank’s monetary policy meeting will take place on Thursday. Last month, concerns were voiced by some of the ECB’s more conservative governing council members about claims of “upside risks” to its inflation forecast, highlighting tensions between ECB rate-setters, as the bank responds to the highest level of eurozone inflation for more than a decade.

Germany: The labour market has continued to tighten in Germany. Europe’s largest economy will release its latest labour market figures. The unemployment rate is close to pre-pandemic levels, but the country has the highest rate of unfilled positions across all major eurozone economies, official data show.

Lloyds: The UK’s biggest high street lender will publish its third-quarter management statement. The bank has announced its entry into the private home rental market under the Citra Living brand, as it attempts to diversify the bank’s income away from traditional lending.

Travis Perkins: A trading update is expected from the UK’s largest builders’ merchant. Travis Perkins increased prices of bagged cement by 15 per cent in May and warned that inflationary pressures would persist. Last month, the company outlined a cash return to shareholders following the recent sale of its plumbing and heating distribution division for £325m.

Asia morning markets: Stocks slide following US slowdown

Most Asian markets fell on Thursday morning after US stock markets slipped back from record highs.

Markets in Japan, China, Hong Kong and Australia all declined, while South Korea made small gains.

In the US, the benchmark S&P 500 index fell 0.5 per cent on Wednesday from Tuesday’s record close, with tech groups and consumer stocks, including Amazon, the only sectors that made gains.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was flat. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury note dropped 0.07 percentage points to 1.54 per cent.

  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost as much as 0.6 per cent on Thursday.

  • South Korea’s Kospi was flat after gains of up to 0.3 per cent in the morning.

  • Japan’s Topix was down 0.7 per cent after earlier losses of up to 1.3 per cent.

  • China’s CSI 300 was down 0.2 per cent after earlier losses of as much as 0.6 per cent.

  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell as much as 0.5 per cent.

Coal futures fall after Chinese regulator signals price controls

Thermal coal futures traded on the Zhengzhou commodities exchange fell to their lowest level in more than a month on Thursday after China’s economic planning agency said it would send inspection teams to mines, stoking fears of a price cap.

Thermal coal futures fell 13 per cent to trade at Rmb1,339 ($209), adding to losses of 9.5 per cent the day before, according to data from Refinitiv.

On Wednesday, the NDRC said it would send inspection teams into coal mines, storage locations and transit points and maintain a “zero tolerance” approach to those “regions and companies that have not strictly implemented the requirements for coal supply and price stability”.

The announcement came after weeks of shortages and surging prices that saw the country increase imports to stave off power cuts. Last week, the NDRC summoned coal producers and warned them against seeking “excessive profits”.

Samsung profits hit three-year high as chip crunch continues

Samsung Electronics expects the global chip crunch to continue to affect its business into next year, after reporting its highest quarterly profit in three years.

The world’s biggest maker of computer chips, smartphones and electronic displays has benefited from the memory boom during the Covid-19 pandemic but microchip prices have come under pressure recently as the homeworking boom fades and economies reopen.

Net profit at the South Korean company jumped 31 per cent to Won12.3tn ($10.4bn) in the July-September quarter as sales increased 10 per cent to a record Won74tn.

“For the fourth quarter, the company will focus on meeting demand for memory and system semiconductor products even as component shortages at some customers may affect demand,” Samsung said.

For next year, the company expects a recovery in global IT demand but cautioned against “uncertainties related to component supply disruptions and Covid-19.” Samsung expects demand for home appliances to weaken next year as people are likely to spend less time at home with “living with Covid-19” policies.

The downbeat outlook has affected the company’s shares, which have lost more than 10 per cent this year, with analysts predicting that memory chips could be entering a downcycle.

Brazil accelerates pace of policy tightening with 1.5% interest rate rise

Brazil’s central bank has announced its biggest interest rate rise since 2002, ratcheting up a fight against double-digit inflation as investors fear a pre-election government spending splurge.

Latin America’s most populous nation is witnessing some of the sharpest price rises among major economies, driven by factors including higher fuel costs, a weakened exchange rate and a drought that has pushed up energy bills.

The Banco Central do Brasil, or BCB, has taken a hawkish stance and on Wednesday stepped up the pace of tightening.

Its monetary policy committee decided unanimously in favour of a 1.5 percentage point jump, up from 1 percentage point at the previous two meetings, taking the benchmark Selic rate to 7.75 per cent.

The BCB said it foresaw an adjustment of the same magnitude at its next meeting.

Read more on Brazil’s policy decision here.

Ford raises full-year guidance and points to improvement in global chip shortage

Ford’s board of directors voted to reinstate next quarter the dividend the company stopped paying at the start of the pandemic.

The Michigan-based carmaker also raised its full-year guidance for the second time, despite third-quarter declines in revenue and profits.

Ford said it now expects to post earnings before interest and taxes in the range of $10.5bn to $11.5bn. The previous outlook topped out at $10bn.

Ford said semiconductor availability “remains a challenge” in the face of a worldwide shortage, but has improved since the second quarter.

“We’re maximising what we have,” John Lawler, chief financial officer, said.

Revenue fell 5 per cent from the third quarter a year ago to $35.87bn. Adjusted earnings before income and taxes fell nearly 17 per cent to $3bn.

What to watch in Asia today

Central bank news: The Bank of Japan will issue its outlook report for economic activity and prices, plus monthly retail sales figures. It will also announce its monetary policy statement.

Earnings: A big day for tech earnings in Asia, with Nokia, Panasonic,…


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