A recent wave of layoffs announced by major tech companies could be a harbinger of further deterioration in an overheated labor market. In November, 52,771 job cuts were announced by tech companies, according to data from Challenger, Gray and Christmas released Thursday morning. This represents the highest monthly total for the sector since 2000. Despite these losses, weekly jobless claims have barely budged in recent weeks and remain at levels seen in good economic times.
On Thursday, the Labor Department reported that weekly jobless claims fell by 16,000 to 225,000 for the week ending Nov. 26, while continuing claims rose to 1.61 million from 1.56 million for the week ending November 19. New job postings also fell to 10.3 million vacancies. as of October 31, down 353,000 from September and down 760,000 from a year ago. That left 1.7 job openings per available worker for the month.
Also on Friday, investors will be watching EU talks aimed at reaching an agreement on a Russian oil price cap, with the European Commission still awaiting a response from Poland, which wants a low price cap that would hamper exports of oil. Russian oil. The latest reports indicate that a compromise has been reached where Poland signs a higher price cap of $60 a barrel in exchange for new sanctions against Russian banks and individuals. The deadline for Poland to sign the agreement is said to be 10 a.m. ET on Friday.
The 27 EU members must agree on a common ceiling price for Russian oil exports, which will then be enforced by G7 countries through the mechanism that would prohibit Western companies from insuring cargoes unless the oil is sold at or below the ceiling.
For context, Russia’s benchmark Urals crude is currently trading $23 below the global benchmark Brent which settled Thursday’s session just north of $87 a barrel. The Russians were forced to offer deep discounts for its rough on the world market to attract reluctant buyers in the wake of the Ukrainian offensive. If the price cap is accepted by all 27 members, the measure should cause minimal disruption to Russian oil exports as it has little or no impact on the Russian crude price formation mechanism.
The objective of the price cap is to deprive the Putin regime of excessive profits which it could use to finance the war in Ukraine. At the same time, the G7 countries do not want to cause global oil shortages that could lead to price spikes. Even though Western countries have pledged to wean off Russian crude, Asia continues to buy it and, in some cases, redirect those supplies to Europe. The cap is expected to come into effect on December 5.
Around 7:30 a.m. ET, the US dollar fell 0.19% against a basket of foreign currencies to trade near a six-month low at 104.485. The January West Texas Intermediate contract advanced $0.49 to $81.71 a barrel, and the February Brent ICE futures contract traded $0.40 to $87.25 a barrel. January RBOB futures on NYMEX hit $2.3468 gallons, up $0.0048, and the January ULSD contract advanced $0.0455 to $3.3079 gallons.
Liubov Georges can be reached at [email protected]