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3 April 2023,06:07

Weekly Outlook

Crude Surges on Surprise OPEC+ Cuts

3 April 2023, 06:07

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Oil prices surged at the beginning of the week after OPEC+ unexpectedly announced crude output cuts that could tighten the market, causing inflationary concerns for the global economy. The cuts, which will exceed 1 million barrels a day, were not expected by traders who anticipated output to remain steady. Goldman Sachs raised price forecasts for this year and next, and key timespreads surged higher as an indication of expected tighter supply. The decision by OPEC+ will likely impact global oil markets and increase the chances of crude oil hitting $100 a barrel again. The White House criticized the move and warned of the inflationary risks. The costlier crude prices threaten to complicate the Federal Reserve’s task of taming persistent price pressures.

UK House Prices Chart Biggest Drop Since 2009

UK house prices fell by 3.1% year-on-year in March, marking the biggest annual decline since July 2009, due to surging interest rates increasing the cost of borrowing, according to Nationwide Building Society. The average UK house price dropped to £257,122 after a 0.8% decline in March, larger than the 0.5% fall in February. All UK regions saw a slowing in price growth during Q1, with the West Midlands the best performer and Scotland the weakest. Robert Gardner, the building society’s chief economist, said that it will be hard for the market to regain momentum in the short term due to weak consumer confidence, high household budgets and stretched housing affordability.

AI Concerns Rise Amid Hype

The UK government has published recommendations for regulating the AI industry in a white paper presented to parliament by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. The paper outlines five principles for AI regulation: safety, security and robustness; transparency and explainability; fairness; accountability and governance; and contestability and redress. Rather than introducing new regulations, the government is calling on regulators to apply existing regulations and inform companies of their obligations under the white paper. The government has tasked the Health and Safety Executive, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Competition and Markets Authority with devising tailored approaches for AI use in their sectors. Experts have raised concerns about the negative implications of AI, where recently, tech leaders including Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak have called for a 6-month pause in the development of AI technology, citing risks to society. 

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