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Goldman Sachs laying off thousands as Wall Street braces for slowdown

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Staff at Goldman Sachs are bracing for news on whether they will keep their jobs on Wednesday, as the U.S. investment bank begins a sweeping cost-cutting drive that could see its 49,000-strong global workforce shrink by thousands.

The long-anticipated jobs cull at the Wall Street titan, expected to represent the biggest contraction in headcount since the financial crisis, is likely to affect most of the bank’s major divisions, with its under-fire investment banking arm facing the deepest cuts, a source told Reuters this month.

Just over 3,000 employees will be let go, the source, who could not be named, said on Jan. 9.

The cuts began in Asia on Wednesday, where Goldman completed cutting back its private wealth management unit and let go 16 private bank staff across its Hong Kong, Singapore and China offices, a source with knowledge of the matter said. About eight staff were also laid off in Goldman’s research department in Hong Kong, the source said, with layoffs ongoing in the investment bank and other divisions.

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Similar moves were expected at the bank’s major office hubs in New York or London during the day on Wednesday. The bank also maintains a small presence in Canada, through a foothold in Toronto’s financial district.

Additional spending cuts

Goldman’s redundancy plans will be followed by a broader spending review taking in corporate travel and expenses, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, as it counts the costs of a massive slowdown in corporate dealmaking and a slump in capital markets activity since the war in Ukraine.

Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Goldman had 49,100 employees at the end of the third quarter, after adding significant numbers of staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

The lender is also slashing its annual bonus payments this year to reflect the depressed market conditions, with payouts expected to fall about 40 per cent.

Global investment banking fees nearly halved in 2022, with $77 billion US earned by the banks, down from $132.3 billion one year earlier, Dealogic data showed.

The major Wall Street banks processed $517 billion worth of stock trades by late December 2022, the lowest level since the early 2000s and a 66 per cent drop from 2021’s bonanza, according to Dealogic.

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Chinese Demand Will Drive Oil Prices This Year – OilPrice.com

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Chinese Demand Will Drive Oil Prices This Year | OilPrice.com


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Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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  • China’s oil and gas demand declines in 2022 as a result of its covid-19 policies.
  • IEA: China to account for 50% of currently projected global oil demand growth in 2023.
  • OPEC: China’s plans to expand fiscal spending to aid the economic recovery is likely to support oil demand in manufacturing, construction and mobility.

Crude storage

For the first time in decades, China’s oil and gas demand declined in 2022 as the strict Covid policies curtailed economic growth and mobility. This year, demand is set to rebound thanks to the reopening of the Chinese economy, pushing global oil demand higher and giving Europe a run for its money to stock up on LNG. The pace of recovery in Chinese oil and gas demand will be one of the most important trends influencing oil and gas markets and prices in 2023.   

Rare 2022 Demand Decline

Last year, while the world saw overall oil demand grow following the reopening of economies and gas trade flows materially shifted after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, China’s demand was subdued and fell for both fossil fuels—for the first time in decades. The Chinese economy continued to grow last year, but at a much smaller pace than in previous years. 

Combined with the property crisis and the zero-Covid policy, all these dragged Chinese oil demand down by 3% – or by 390,000 barrels per day (bpd), according to estimates by the International Energy Agency (IEA). That was the first annual decline in oil consumption in China since 1990. 

At the same time, global oil demand rose by 2.2 million bpd in 2022, per the IEA. 

Related: Everybody Loves Oil Again

Natural gas consumption in China also fell last year—by 0.7 percent, for the first annual fall in demand in four decades, according to the energy agency. China’s LNG imports also fell, much more than gas demand, and China handed back to Japan the top spot in LNG importers in the world. 

In 2022, China saw a rare drop in gas consumption amid a slowdown in economic growth, while most of South and Southeast Asia simply couldn’t afford the skyrocketing spot LNG prices after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Europe’s race to replace Russian pipeline gas. LNG buyers have returned to securing term deals, even buyers in Europe that were previously reluctant to lock in supply for the long term in view of the clash between the carbon footprint of LNG and the EU’s climate ambitions.  

Expected 2023 Rebound 

Demand for oil and gas in China is expected to rebound this year, as Beijing ditched the zero-Covid policy, which should lead to a jump in mobility and economic activity, analysts say. 

The IEA also expects a rebound in Chinese oil and gas consumption, with oil demand growth in China driving half of the currently projected global oil demand growth in 2023. 

“With the Chinese economy now recovering, it will have major implications for oil and gas market balances,” Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, told the New York Times in an interview.  

Global oil demand is set to rise by 1.9 million bpd in 2023, to a record 101.7 million bpd, with nearly half the gain coming from China following the lifting of its Covid restrictions, the IEA said in its Oil Market Report for January. 

“Two wild cards dominate the 2023 oil market outlook: Russia and China,” the IEA said. 

“China will drive nearly half this global demand growth even as the shape and speed of its reopening remains uncertain,” the agency noted. 

In the interview with NYT, the IEA’s Birol said that “China is the key uncertainty when it comes to 2023 global energy markets,” adding that “how the country’s economy will perform will have massive implications for global energy markets.” 

OPEC also expressed more optimism about Chinese oil demand and the global economy this year in its Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) in January.

China’s reopening is set to push demand higher, and “In addition, China’s plans to expand fiscal spending to aid the economic recovery is likely to support oil demand in manufacturing, construction and mobility,” OPEC said. 

Globally, economies look more resilient than previously expected, the cartel said. 

“The global momentum in 4Q22 appears stronger than previously expected, potentially providing a sound base for the year 2023, especially in the OECD economies. The 2022 growth in both Euro-zone and US has surpassed previous forecasts,” OPEC noted. 

Saudi oil giant Aramco expects the Chinese reopening and a pick-up in jet fuel demand to lead to a rebound in global oil demand this year, Amin Nasser, the CEO of the world’s biggest oil firm, told Bloomberg in an interview earlier this month.

“As China’s infection rate slows post-Chinese New Year, we see domestic oil demand rebounding. As the population hits the roads and the skies, our expectation is Chinese oil consumption in 2023 will increase by around 1.0 million b/d, an impressive performance considering Q1 demand is likely to contract by 190,000 b/d,” Gavin Thompson, Vice Chairman, Energy – Asia Pacific, at Wood Mackenzie, said earlier this month.  

“Look for a particularly bullish Q2, with China adding 1.36 million b/d over the same quarter in 2022, the strongest growth in over a decade (excluding the post-Covid bounce) that will support higher prices,” Thompson added.

China may be one of the two wild cards in oil markets this year, together with Russia, but one thing is certain in energy markets – the Chinese economy and oil and gas consumption trends will shape the markets this year.   

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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Before the Bell: Futures dip ahead of Fed rate decision – The Globe and Mail

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Equities

Canada’s main stock index opened lower Wednesday with consumer staples and utilities under pressure. On Wall Street, key indexes also started the day on the back foot as traders await this afternoon’s rate decision from the Federal Reserve.

At 9:31 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 52.71 points, or 0.25 per cent, at 20,714.67.

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In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 46.44 points, or 0.14 per cent, at the open to 34,039.60. The S&P 500 opened lower by 6.53 points, or 0.16 per cent, at 4,070.07, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 11.41 points, or 0.10 per cent, to 11,573.14 at the opening bell.

Wednesday will see the Fed’s latest policy announcement. Markets are widely expecting a quarter point rate increase. Traders will be watching for signals about what’s coming next and whether the central bank is nearing a pause in its tightening campaign. A week ago, the Bank of Canada hiked by 25 basis points and became the first major central bank to signal a break after eight consecutive rate increases.

“While Fed officials have insisted that rates will stay high for some time to come, the markets simply don’t believe them, especially when several key inflation indicators have shown that prices are still coming down on a steady trajectory,” Michael Hewson, chief market analyst with CMC Markets U.K., said in a note.

“This is what makes today’s [Fed chair Jerome] Powell press conference such a tricky proposition when it comes to market positioning,” he said. “The danger for the Fed is in allowing the market to continue to think that rates are likely to come down this year, which in turn could see inflation take off again, especially with the labour market being as tight as it is.”

The rate decision is due at 2 p.m. ET and will be followed by a news conference.

Meanwhile, earnings continue to pour in on both sides of the border.

On Wall Street, Facebook parent Meta reports after the close of trading.

Shares of Snapchat-parent Snap were down more than 12 per cent in morning trading after the social media company swung to a loss in the latest quarter. The company also warned that revenue in the current quarter could fall by as much as 10 per cent amid a weaker economy and rising competition. Snap’s net loss was US$288-million during the quarter, versus net income of US$23-million the previous year. It reported adjusted earnings per share of 14 US cents, beating Wall Street estimates of 11 US cents. The results were released after Tuesday close.

In Canada, Montreal-based CGI reported results before the start of trading. The company said first quarter earnings per share rose to $1.60 in the most recent quarter from $1.49 a year earlier. Excluding specific items, CGI said it earned $1.66 per diluted share, up from $1.50 per diluted share a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter rose to $3.45-billion, up from $3.09-billion last year.

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd., meanwhile, says it earned $1.27-billion or $1.36 a share in the fourth quarter of 2022, compared with $532-million or 74 cents in the same period of 2021. The company reported revenue of $2.46-billion, up 21 per cent from a year earlier.

Overseas, the pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.30 per cent by midday. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.23 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 were up 0.39 per cent and 0.30 per cent, respectively.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei ended up 0.07 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.05 per cent.

Commodities

Crude prices wavered as traders await the outcome of the Fed’s latest policy meeting and weigh a decision by OPEC+ to maintain output.

The day range on Brent was US$85.25 to US$86.21 in the early premarket. The range on West Texas Intermediate was US$78.83 to US$79.73.

“The oil market is awaiting a couple of major events, both the FOMC decision and the OPEC+ meeting on output,” OANDA senior analyst Ed Moya said.

Members of OPEC+’s Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee met virtually today. As expected, the group made recommended no change to its current output level. The group will meet again in April.

Reuters reports that OPEC’s oil output fell in January, as Iraqi exports dropped and Nigeria’s output did not recover, with the 10 OPEC members pumping 920,000 barrels per day (bpd) below their targeted volumes under the OPEC+ agreement. The shortfall was bigger than the deficit of 780,000 bpd in December.

Later in the day, markets will get weekly U.S. inventory figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. An earlier report from the American Petroleum Institute showed crude stocks rose about 6.3 million barrels last week, more than markets had been expecting.

Meanwhile, gold prices were down as traders await the Fed decision.

Spot gold was 0.2 per cent lower at US$1,924.26 per ounce by early Wednesday morning, after falling to its lowest since Jan. 19 in the previous session. U.S. gold futures fell 0.3 per cent to US$1,939.70.

Currencies

The Canadian dollar was steady, trading around 75 US cents early Wednesday morning, while its U.S. counterpart slid against a group of world counterparts ahead of this afternoon’s Fed policy decision.

The day range on the loonie was 75.03 US cents to 75.26 US cents in the early premarket period.

There were no major Canadian economic releases due Wednesday.

On world markets, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency against six major peers, fell 0.15 per cent to 101.96 by Wednesday morning. It also slipped in the previous session, in part because of a report showing U.S. labour costs had increased in the fourth quarter at their slowest pace in a year, Reuters reported.

The euro was up 0.2 per cent at US$1.0885 as traders await Thursday’s rate decision from the European Central Bank, while Britain’s pound was flat at US$1.2320.

More company news

TC Energy Corp on Wednesday said it now estimates costs for completion of its troubled Coastal GasLink project to be $14.5-billion from $11.2-billion pegged earlier.

Intel Corp said that it had made broad cuts to employee and executive pay, a week after the company issued a lower-than-expected sales forecast driven by a loss of market share to rivals and a PC market downturn. The reductions will range from 5 per cent of base pay for mid-level employees to as much as 25% for Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger, while the company’s hourly workforce’s pay will not be cut, said a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly. –Reuters

Peloton Interactive Inc on Wednesday reported slower cash burn for the second quarter, after the company carried out a host of cost-cutting measures, including layoffs and store shutdowns. The fitness equipment maker posted a cash burn of US$94.4-million, compared with a burn of US$546.7-million a year earlier. –Reuters

Economic news

(8:15 a.m. ET) U.S. ADP National Employment Report for January.

(9:30 a.m. ET) Canadian S&P Global Manufacturing PMI for January.

(10 a.m. ET) U.S. ISM Manufacturing PMI for January.

(10 a.m. ET) U.S. construction spending for January.

(10 a.m. ET) U.S. Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for December.

(2 p.m. ET) U.S. Fed announcement with chair Jerome Powell’s press briefing to follow.

With Reuters and The Canadian Press

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Asia's richest no more? Gautam Adani's wealth crashes as $90 billion wiped off his business – CNN

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New Delhi
CNN
 — 

Gautam Adani looks set to cede his position as Asia’s richest man to another Indian billionaire as shares in his business empire continue to plunge following fraud allegations leveled by an American short seller.

In an investigation published last Tuesday, Hindenburg Research accused Adani’s ports-to-power group of “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades.”

Adani Group denounced the report as “baseless” and “malicious,” and has said it is considering legal action, but the market reaction has been brutal and relentless.

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The conglomerate, which has seven listed companies, has lost more than $90 billion in market value in the week since Hindenburg published its report.

Adani vs Hindenburg: India’s top businessman faces biggest test

That stock market rout has wiped nearly $40 billion off Adani’s personal fortune. A week ago he was the fourth-richest person in the world. Now he ranks 10th on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and looks set to be overtaken by Mukesh Ambani, India’s energy-to-telecom entrepreneur, as Asia’s richest man. Bloomberg’s index is updated at the close of every trading day in New York.

Forbes’ real-time ranking of billionaires already has Ambani, who controls Reliance Industries, above Adani. Ambani’s net worth stands at $83 billion, making him the world’s ninth-richest person, while Adani’s wealth is estimated at about $75 billion, according to Forbes.

The turmoil comes despite a brief respite Tuesday for Adani when his flagship firm, Adani Enterprises, managed to issue new shares worth $2.5 billion. The capital-raising exercise was touted as India’s biggest ever public offering by a listed company. After a tepid start, the offer was fully subscribed shortly before the close of trading in Mumbai.

But interest from retail investors was muted, and the market crash resumed Wednesday. Shares in Adani Enterprises closed down nearly 30% on Wednesday, while Adani Ports plunged almost 20%.

At the peak of his wealth last year, Adani was the world’s second-richest person, ahead of Jeff Bezos. That was the first time a person from Asia had ranked so highly on the Bloomberg list, long dominated by white tech entrepreneurs.

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