Global Markets Wrap: Russia Cuts Oil Production, UK Avoids Recession

ETF.com’s round of the latest international stories for ETF investors.

sumit
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Senior ETF Analyst
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Reviewed by: Sumit Roy
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Edited by: Sumit Roy

International markets have been grabbing a lot of headlines this year, with many undergoing fundamental changes. 

Here are some of the most interesting stories in international markets today to help ETF investors keep track of these changes. 

JAPAN 

The Bank of Japan’s next governor will be Kazuo Ueda, an economist and former member of the Bank of Japan's policy board, according to Nikkei. 

Ueda will succeed current BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda when his 10-year term ends on April 8. 

According to Nikkei, Ueda was the Japanese government’s second choice after Bank of Japan Deputy Gov. Masayoshi Amamiya declined its offer to be the central bank’s governor.  

Investors have been dissecting past statements and decisions by Ueda for signs on whether he will continue the ultra-dovish policies of Kuroda or whether he will act more quickly to end those policies in the face of the highest inflation in 41 years in Japan.  

So far, indications are that Ueda will maintain the status quo, moving slowly to tighten the BoJ’s policies and making sure that an economy that has fought deflation for decades doesn’t slip back into that quagmire.  

The iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ) rose 0.5% on Friday.  

CHINA 

Dozen of Chinese companies may list their shares in the U.S. later this year following an agreement between the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and Chinese regulators to allow the PCAOB “to inspect and investigate audit firms in mainland China and Hong Kong completely.” 

The 2022 agreement removed a major overhang from the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act of 2020 that caused Chinese companies to avoid listing in the U.S. and had investors fretting about investments in China more broadly. 

The biggest China ETFs, like the iShares MSCI China ETF (MCHI), the KraneShares CSI China Internet ETF (KWEB) and the iShares Trust - China Large-Cap ETF (FXI), hold various combinations of Chinese companies listed on mainland China, in Hong Kong and the U.S. 

Having more Chinese companies listed in the U.S. won’t necessarily have a significant direct impact on the ETFs, but it will alleviate some of the broader concerns about tensions between the U.S. and China leading to a decoupling of the two countries’ economies and what that could mean for U.S. investors in China. 

RUSSIA 

Russia announced on Friday it will be cutting its oil production by 500,000 barrels per day in March. Notably, this reduction will take place outside the purview of the OPEC+ organization that Russia has been a part of since 2016. 

The reaction in oil markets was positive, albeit somewhat underwhelming. European Brent oil prices gained more than 2%, driving the United States Brent Oil Fund (BNO) up by a similar amount. 

The energy sector within the stock market—which was the best performer of 2022, with a 64% gain—rallied by 3%, pushing the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE) into positive territory for 2023.  

Russia implied that its announced output cut was retaliation for energy sanctions placed on the country by the West, but some analysts speculated that the cuts may signal Russia is having difficulty finding buyers for its crude outside of its traditional European markets.  

UNITED KINGDOM 

The U.K. dodged a recession by a whisker last year.  

According to the government, GDP was flat in the fourth quarter after falling by 0.2% in 3Q.  

Economists sometimes define a recession as two-straight quarters of negative GDP growth, so by that definition, the U.K. economy isn’t in a recession.  

On the other hand, the U.K. fourth-quarter GDP was 0.8% below its 2019 level—meaning it’s the only G-7 economy that hasn’t fully recovered from the pandemic.  

So, recession or not, the U.K. economy isn’t doing great no thanks to a cost-of-living crisis and government budget woes. 

 

Email Sumit Roy at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @sumitroy2             

Sumit Roy is the senior ETF analyst for etf.com, where he has worked for 13 years. He creates a variety of content for the platform, including news articles, analysis pieces, videos and podcasts.

Before joining etf.com, Sumit was the managing editor and commodities analyst for Hard Assets Investor. In those roles, he was responsible for most of the operations of HAI, a website dedicated to education about commodities investing.

Though he still closely follows the commodities beat, Sumit covers a much broader assortment of topics for etf.com, with a particular focus on stock and bond exchange-traded funds.

He is the host of etf.com’s Talk ETFs, a popular video series that features weekly interviews with thought leaders in the ETF industry. Sumit is also co-host of Exchange Traded Fridays, etf.com’s weekly podcast series.

He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he enjoys climbing the city’s steep hills, playing chess and snowboarding in Lake Tahoe.