The world this week - Business
A global shortage of natural-gas supplies continued to convulse markets.
Prices have soared in recent weeks, especially in Europe, following a convergence of adverse factors, such as booming demand in Asia coinciding with tight stocks of liquefied natural gas.
In Europe some governments are stepping in to alleviate the pressure on spiralling household bills.
The International Energy Agency pointed out that Russia’s gas exports to Europe are below their level of 2019, and urged it to “do more to increase gas availability”.
One of the many knock-on effects of the turmoil in gas markets was a shortage of carbon dioxide as an industrial gas in Britain.
A big producer of carbon dioxide had to close its factories because of soaring natural-gas prices, which in turn led to warnings from the chicken industry about a possible paucity of poultry.
Carbon dioxide is used to stun hens for slaughter.
Evergrande, one of China’s biggest property developers, said it had “resolved” the payment of interest on a domestic bond amid a liquidity crisis.
The highly indebted company has warned of a default and has reportedly missed interest payments to bank creditors.
Investors are watching nervously.
The central bank has been pumping liquidity into the financial system to shore up confidence.
The official statement from the Federal Reserve’s meeting this week prepared markets for the strong possibility that it will start to taper its pandemic-programme asset purchases in November.
The central bank also hinted at an interest rate rise next year.
The OECD raised its forecast for inflation in the G20 countries, in part because of higher shipping costs and energy prices.
The average annual inflation rate for the group is now expected to be 3.7% this year and 3.9% in 2022.
Battling inflation that is nearing 10%, Brazil’s central bank raised its main interest rate for the fifth consecutive month.