Global Stocks Sink as Europe Faces New Squeeze on Gas Supply

Global Stocks Sink as Europe Faces New Squeeze on Gas Supply
A currency trader walks by the screen showing the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at a foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, on Sept. 5, 2022. (Lee Jin-man/AP Photo)
The Associated Press

BEIJING—Global stock markets sank Monday as Europe faced a new squeeze on Russian gas supplies.

London and Frankfurt opened lower. Tokyo, Hong Kong, and South Korea fell while Shanghai gained. Oil prices rose more than $2 per barrel while the euro edged lower.

Markets were roiled by Russian energy giant Gazprom's announcement Friday that a suspension of gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline would be extended indefinitely. That adds to shortages in Germany and other economies.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London lost 1.1 percent to 7,198.73 and the DAX in Frankfurt tumbled 3.2 percent to 12,628.44., The CAC 40 in France fell 2 percent to 6,047.28.

Gazprom’s announcement puts European stocks under “heavy pressure,” said Chris Turner of ING in a report.

Also Friday, U.S. government data showed hiring slowed in August but wages rose sharply. Forecasters said the Federal Reserve might see that as evidence more interest rate hikes are needed to bring down inflation that is at a four-decade high.

“Markets relinquished early optimism for a sense of foreboding,” said Tan Boon Heng of Mizuho Bank in a report.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 future was off less than 0.1 percent. That for the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained less than 0.1 percent.

The Dow also fell 1.1 percent on Friday after the Labor Department reported the U.S. economy added 315,000 jobs in August. That was down from July’s 526,000, but average hourly pay jumped by an unusually wide margin of 5.2 percent compared with a year earlier.

The Nasdaq composite lost 1.3 percent.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.4 percent to 3,199.91 after the Chinese regime tightened controls on movement in the southern business center of Shenzhen following virus outbreaks.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 0.1 percent to 27,619.61 while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong tumbled 1.2 percent to 19,225.70.

The Kospi in Seoul lost 0.2 percent to 2,403.68 while Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 added 0.3 percent to 6,852.20.

New Zealand and Bangkok declined while Singapore and Jakarta advanced.

European economies face gas shortages after their governments agreed to wind down purchases from Russia to punish the Kremlin for invading Ukraine.

Last week, state-owned Gazprom announced a three-day suspension of gas supplies through Nord Stream 1 due to urgent maintenance work.

On Friday, the company said that would be extended indefinitely. Russia already has reduced supplies to countries that sided with Ukraine.

Meanwhile, traders are uneasily watching the Fed after chair Jerome Powell said Aug. 26 interest rates have to stay elevated to rein in surging inflation. That dashed hopes the Fed might back off due to signs U.S. economic activity is cooling.

The Fed has raised rates four times this year, twice by 0.75 percentage points, triple its usual margin.

Central banks in Europe and Asia also have hiked rates, fueling worries they might derail global economic growth.

The U.S. market has given up much of the gains made in July and August when traders hoped the Fed might ease up.

Traders expect another 0.75 percentage point rate hike at this month's Fed meeting, according to CME Group.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude gained $2.18 to $89.05 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 26 cents to $86.87 on Friday. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, added $2.54 to $95.56 per barrel in London. It advanced 66 cents the previous session to $93.02.

The dollar advanced to 140.50 yen from Friday's 140.13 yen. The euro declined to 99.26 cents from 99.64 cents.

By Joe McDonald
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