UK housing market gets Brexit delay boost; oil jumps after tanker fire - business live

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MAP: Two tankers hit in the Gulf

Iranian media are reporting that TWO tankers have been hit in the Gulf of Oman.

The Financial Times has more details:

Iran’s Arabic TV al-Alalam reported that Pakistan’s local authorities also confirmed that the sound of explosions were heard.

Shipping executives have been circulating messages on Thursday morning saying that oil tanker M.T Front Altair had been abandoned, with its crew safely rescued by a nearby vessel, and that it was fully loaded and on fire.

The fire on Front Altair was caused by a “surface attack”, one of the messages said. The messages also said that a second tanker in the vicinity, Kokuka Courageous, could not be contacted, with its automatic identification system having gone offline.

I’ve had a play with our Reuters terminal -- and found the two tankers:

Maps of Gulf of Oman Photograph: Refinitiv

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Bloomberg is reporting that the tanker fire is being blamed on an “attack”.

enltrBREAKING: An oil tanker sailing from Saudi Arabia to Singapore “has been damaged as a result of the suspected attack” in the Sea of Oman, the vessel’s manager says https://t.co/w2yxgbnvXJpic.twitter.com/4YY0MZBilB

— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc)

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News that an oil tanker has caught fire in the Gulf of Oman is fuelling fears of geopolitical unrest in the region.

Neil Wilson of Market.com explains:

Oil has shot up sharply after slumping to 5-month lows overnight. Reports of an oil tanker being on fire in the Sea of Oman rattled markets and sent Brent up $2 in a matter of minute, but await to see whether this will hold or is an algo-based kneejerk that will be faded.

We know that geopolitical tensions in the region are worsening and raise supply-side concerns in terms of short-term outages etc – but with OPEC already curbing output and US production at a record high the market is far less susceptible to a shock.

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Oil jumps after Gulf of Oman incident

Newsflash: The oil price has just surged on reports that a tanker in the Gulf of Oman is on fire.

Details of the incident are sketchy, beyond that it happened near the Iranian coast.

But markets are reacting fast. Brent crude has surged over 3% to $62 per barrel, having hit a five-month low below $60 last night.

enltrOil surges after a report that a crude tanker was on fire in the Gulf of Oman https://t.co/szCTA9F3s4#OOTTpic.twitter.com/LcaoVLAXkV

Helen Robertson (@HelenCRobertson)

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What chartered surveyors say about Brexit

This month’s survey of Britain’s chartered surveyors is peppered with references to Brexit - here’s a round-up of comments:

Paul McSkimmings of Edward Watson Associates in Newcastle upon Tyne,

Good month with expected levels of instructions despite continuing uncertainty due to Brexit. I am still expecting a significant drop in work if Brexit eventually staggers over the line

Jonathan Milner of Paisley Properties in Huddersfield

Usual Easter bump continues. Demand remains strong, no Brexit jitters on the whole. Level second hand stock coming to market, whilst new build is increasingly popular.

Ben Hudson of Hudson Moody in York:

A realisation that Brexit will rumble on for ever has meant buyers and sellers are starting to make decisions to move.

James Brown of Norman F Brown in Richmond:

The shortage of new property on the market continues however following the Brexit postponement, buyers seem to have reacted positively and some properties are selling quickly at good prices.

Andrew W York of Moore & York in Leicester:

Upturn in sales during the second half of the month, but will this continue with all the political/ Brexit uncertainty?

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Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, says today’s survey shows the UK housing market is recovering.

But even though RICS sees prices recovering, Brexit is still a concern, he says:

“Some comfort can be drawn from the results of the latest RICS survey as it suggests that the housing market in aggregate may be steading. However much of the anecdotal insight provided by respondents is still quite cautious, reflecting concerns about both the underlying political and economic climate.

Rubinsohn also warns that some house-prices sellers are demanding too much for their homes, helping to bung the market up:

“Another significant point made by respondents is that there continues to be considerable emphasis on the need for realistic pricing on the part of vendors, which while not a new story, is indicative of the ongoing challenges.

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Introduction: Housing market picking up after Brexit delay

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

The Brexit storm clouds that have loomed over Britain’s economy for many months appears to be clearing.

A new survey of chartered surveyors shows that the housing sector recovered its nerve in May. Prices picked up on relief that the UK hadn’t crashed out of the EU without a deal this spring.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) house price measure - the difference between members reporting price rises and falls - improved to -10 from -22 in April.

That was its highest reading since October and was stronger than the City expected. It suggests that the steady downward pressure on house prices may be easing.

UK housing market Photograph: RICS

London’s housing market has taken the biggest hit from Brexit since 2016, but there are also sign that the long slump in the capital’s housing market may have bottomed out.

RICS says:

  • New buyer enquiries steadier in May following recent declines
  • South East now showing most negative sentiment on prices as London starts to bounce back
  • Indicators on sales, prices and new instructions remain slightly negative, but less than previously
  • Expectations point to a gradual improvement in activity over the next twelve months

Reaction to follow...

Also coming up today

We’ll be tracking events at Arcadia, after Philip Green finally persuaded his landlords to agree hefty rent cuts to keep the company running.

Related: Philip Green’s Arcadia avoids administration as rescue deal backed

On the economic side, we get new eurozone factory output data and the latest US weekly jobless total.

In the City, supermarket chain Tesco is reporting its financial results - UK sales rose 0.4% in the last quarter, despite a “subdued market”, it says.

The agenda
  • : Swiss central bank interest rate decision
  • : Eurozone industrial production for April
  • : US weekly unemployment figures

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

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