European markets edged lower in morning trade on Monday as investors focused on fresh European data and oil prices continued to plummet on increasing uncertainty over future production cuts. It is important to note however that U.K.’s FTSE 100 the only major European market trading positive. The index rose after the British pound plummeted following “hard Brexit” comments made by Prime Minister Theresa May over the weekend. Brexit uncertainty has overridden recent solid UK economic data and caused the British pound to plummet 1.1 percent against the euro to last trade at 1.15 EUR as of 9:35 GMT.
Asian stocks concluded the day recording a mixed performance on Monday after a strong U.S. jobs report revealed a job growth for the 75th straight month, keeping the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates as much as three times this year and causing the greenback to skyrocket against its peers. With China’s yuan resuming its downward slide and oil prices edging lower amid renewed doubts over future production cuts, investors refrained from trading causing stocks to waver. Chinese markets are also expected to be largely affected by the U.S. President -elect Donald Trump’s future tax reforms, infrastructure spending and China trade which will come under close scrutiny on Wednesday.
In today’s Asian markets, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.9 percent to close at 5807.44, China A50 added 0.4 percent to close at 10120.27, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.3 percent to close at 22570.00 while India’s Nifty 50 lost 0.1 percent to close at 8237.10. Japanese markets remained closed for the national “Coming of Age” holiday.
Saudi Arabia is currently working in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers on plans to cancel about $20 billion worth of projects as the kingdom seeks to cut costs. Specifically, the Ministry of Economy and Planning hired the consultancy firm to review government contracts that amount to $69 billion with intention of slashing about a third of them. The projects under review include contracts awarded by the ministries of housing, transport, health and education. It should be noted that some of the projects might not be completely cancelled as the option of privatizing the contracts is also on the table. It appears that the world’s biggest oil exporter is seeking to reduced its frenzied spending to narrow a budget shortfall that peaked to nearly $80 billion last year after oil prices slumped. The kingdom set up an office to limit government spending, according to this year’s budget while the National Project Management Office was also set up last year to control capital spending.