News Briefing - Monday, October 9th 2023
From US Top News and Analysis
Oil prices jump 4% in the wake of Hamas attack on Israel
The conflict between Israel and militant groups in Lebanon, primarily Hezbollah, has raised concerns about potential implications for the oil market. There are fears that the conflict could escalate regionally, particularly if Iran becomes involved. Henning Gloystein, director of energy, climate, and resources at Eurasia Group, expressed concerns about potential supply issues if Iran is drawn into the conflict. Josh Young, CIO of energy investment firm Bison Interests, predicted a significant impact on oil prices if the US were to enforce sanctions on Iranian exports, forecasting a rise of $5 for WTI. Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group, warned that a conflict between Israel and Iran could lead to a $5 to $10 increase in oil prices, given that 40% of global oil exports pass through the Strait of Hormuz. McNally also suggested that if Hezbollah were to become involved, crude prices could rise even higher. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged the limited fighting between Hezbollah and Israel but noted that the situation was being closely monitored.
Israel-Hamas live updates: More than 1,100 killed in conflict; Israeli forces' progress taking 'more time than expected'
Israeli troops are still engaged in battle with Hamas on the ground, but progress has been slower than expected, according to a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht said that there are still seven to eight open areas around Gaza where Israeli soldiers are fighting terrorists. Hecht also noted that Hamas fighters may still be infiltrating Israel from Gaza. He stated that Hamas did not provide any warning to civilians before attacking civilian areas, which is known as "knocking the roof" in Israeli terms. Hecht emphasized that this conflict is war, and the scale is different. The IDF had anticipated a quicker advancement in their operations against Hamas but acknowledged that it is taking longer than expected.
Dow futures fall more than 200 points after Hamas attack against Israel
Stock futures fell early Monday as the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict added geopolitical risk to an already fragile market. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.7%, while S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures slipped around 0.8%. The conflict began on Saturday when the militant group Hamas launched an invasion, catching Israel off guard. Rising tensions could lead to increased volatility in a market already grappling with inflation and higher interest rates. Oil prices may see a surge due to the geopolitical uncertainty, as experts predict a potential knee-jerk reaction in the energy market. While neither Israel nor Palestine are significant oil players, their location in a key oil region could have broader implications. In addition, OPEC+ is expected to remain cautious on any moves to expand oil output further. The bond market is closed on Monday for Columbus Day, with an update on interest rates expected on Tuesday. Despite a stronger-than-expected jobs report last week, the three major indexes finished higher as wage growth remained muted, giving investors hope that inflation was cooling.
From BBC News - Home
'Nobody could help us' - Shock and anger in Israel's Ashkelon
The southern Israeli city of Ashkelon is in shock and anger following the surprise attack by Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza. Israeli forces pursued Palestinian gunmen who had stolen a car and killed them in a shootout on the roadside. The Barzilai Medical Center has treated over 400 patients due to the attack. Many Israelis are shocked at how their powerful security forces were overwhelmed by the scale of the Hamas operation, and there are complaints of a lack of help from the authorities. Some Israelis are calling for the toughest military action against Gaza in retaliation for the attacks. Meanwhile, the Israeli military insists it is carrying out a decisive campaign in Gaza and its chief spokesman says, "The days ahead will be long and difficult."
Metro Bank strikes rescue deal to boost finances
Metro Bank, the UK-based challenger bank, has secured its future after striking a deal with investors to raise £325m in new funding. The bank plans to use the funds to shore up its finances and boost profitability over the coming years. As part of the agreement, Colombian billionaire Jaime Gilinski Bacal will become Metro Bank's biggest shareholder with a 52% stake. The bank has faced various challenges in recent years, including an accounting scandal in 2019 which led to senior executives leaving the company. However, the bank returned to profit in the first half of this year, partly helped by higher interest rates. Metro Bank has 2.7 million customers and holds around £15bn worth of deposits across its 76 branches.
Minister raised concerns over closure of SAS war crimes investigation
The UK's Veterans Minister, Johnny Mercer, raised concerns in 2019 about the closing of an investigation into alleged war crimes by UK special forces in Afghanistan, according to the BBC. Known as Operation Northmoor, the investigation had been set up in 2014 to examine 675 allegations of wrongdoing by UK armed forces, including claims that the SAS carried out murders of unarmed individuals during raids. Mercer, a former British army officer, wrote to the defence secretary at the time, Ben Wallace, warning against the decision to close the investigation, but publicly supported the move when it was announced. The investigation was ultimately shut down in 2019 without any charges being brought. In 2022, a public inquiry was launched following a BBC Panorama investigation which revealed that one SAS squadron had killed 54 people in suspicious circumstances during a six-month tour of Afghanistan.
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Trump pleads not guilty to 34 felony counts
Former President Donald Trump's arraignment in a New York state court will not be broadcast by news outlets, according to Judge Juan Merchan. While the arraignment is a public proceeding, cameras are generally not allowed in the courtroom. However, Merchan has granted permission for five pool photographers to take still photos at the beginning of the proceedings. Media organizations, including CNN, had requested live cameras in the courtroom, citing the importance of public access. Trump's lawyers had urged the judge to reject the media's request, while the Manhattan District Attorney's office did not take a position on the matter. A grand jury indicted Trump last week as part of an investigation into hush-money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign. The arraignment is expected to reveal the criminal charges against Trump, which have not been disclosed to his lawyers or the public. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and his legal team is preparing to fight the charges.
Haberman reveals why Trump attacked judge and his family in speech
CNN political contributor Maggie Haberman provides insight into why Donald Trump launched an attack on a judge and his family in a recent speech at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Trump had been recently arraigned on felony charges, and his remarks were seen as an attempt to discredit the judge and undermine the legal proceedings against him. According to Haberman, Trump's attacks were driven by a combination of anger and a desire to control the narrative surrounding his legal troubles. She suggests that Trump, who has a history of attacking judges and the judicial system, feels a sense of personal grievance and sees himself as a victim. By attacking the judge, Trump is attempting to question the judge's impartiality and cast doubt on the legitimacy of the trial. Haberman notes that Trump's strategy, though controversial, has seen some success in the past by creating doubt and uncertainty among his supporters.
Russian authorities detain suspect over St. Petersburg cafe blast
Ukraine has received the first installment of $2.7 billion from a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) program. The IMF recently approved a four-year agreement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF), totaling $15.6 billion, as part of a larger $115 billion support package for Ukraine. The program aims to stabilize the economy, support recovery, strengthen institutions, and promote long-term growth. It will also help Ukraine implement structural reforms. This marks the first time the IMF has provided major conventional financing to a country involved in a large-scale war. However, the risks to the arrangement are high, according to Gita Gopinath, the first deputy managing director of the IMF. She stated that the program's success depends on the size and timing of external financing to close fiscal and external financing gaps and restore debt sustainability.