By Tom Westbrook



a group of people walking down the street: FILE PHOTO: Passersby wearing protective face masks walk past a screen displaying Nikkei share average and world stock indexes, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo


© Reuters/ISSEI KATO
FILE PHOTO: Passersby wearing protective face masks walk past a screen displaying Nikkei share average and world stock indexes, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Chinese stocks led Asian markets higher on Monday as investors bet on a steady recovery for the world’s no. 2 economy, though caution about the fate of U.S. stimulus kept the dollar firm and a central bank policy tweak unwound some of the yuan’s gains.

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MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.miapj0000pus> rose 0.8% to 2-1/2-year highs, buoyed by a 2% gain in Chinese blue chips <.csi300> and a 1.5% rise by Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index <.hsi>. Japan’s Nikkei <.n225> slipped 0.3% as investors fretted about corporate earnings. [.T]

“If capital is moving on relative growth rates, then China is looking quite attractive,” said Chris Weston, head of research brokerage Pepperstone in Melbourne. Equities are cheap, yields advantageous and the outlook solid, he said.

“From a virus perspective as well, we’re seeing concerns in Europe, while China is considered a quasi-safe haven.”

China has returned from an eight day Mid-Autumn festival with investors encouraged by a robust rebound in tourism and ebbing coronavirus cases.

Qingdao city said on Monday it will conduct COVID-19 tests for the entire population of more than 9 million people over five days after small number of new cases.

Elsewhere, in the U.S. midwest, infections are at record levels and the World Health Organization is urging fresh curbs for Europe.

Video: Potential US stimulus deal could impact global markets (ABC NEWS)

Potential US stimulus deal could impact global markets

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Coronavirus aid plans in the United States are also in disarray, with the Trump administration on Sunday calling on Congress to pass a stripped-down

TOKYO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Asian shares inched close to 2-1/2-year highs on Friday as revived hopes for a U.S. stimulus deal eclipsed weaker-than-expected jobs data, while mainland Chinese markets jumped after a week-long holiday.

Traders work on the trading floor of the Philippine Stock Exchange amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines, September 30, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez/Files

Investors are also increasingly expecting the Democrats to take back the White House, and possibly the Senate as well, in the Nov. 3 U.S. election, analysts said.

A widening lead for Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden is seen as reducing the risk of a contested election and opening the way for a big economic stimulus, helping to counter investors’ wariness about a Democrat pledge to hike corporate tax rates.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 0.15%, inching closer to its Aug. 31 peak, which was its highest level since March 2018. China’s CSI300 index .CSI300 gained 1.68% after the Golden Week holidays.

Japan’s Nikkei .N225 dipped 0.1% after hitting a 7 1/2-month high, while futures for the S&P 500 gained 0.47%.

“Markets are starting to assume a Biden victory,” said Osamu Takashima, chief FX strategist at Citigroup Global Markets Japan.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said talks with Congress had restarted on targeted fiscal relief, after calling off negotiations earlier this week.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed confidence about reaching an agreement on the amount of aid in new legislation.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 0.80% and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 0.5%.

The S&P 500 energy index .SPNY led sector percentage gains, rising 3.8% on the day, after a jump in oil prices due to production shutdowns ahead of a storm in

OPEC expects the number of cars on the roads in India to jump by more than five times by 2045 and, along with a similar increase in China, be one of the major drivers of rising oil demand


XAVIER GALIANA

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The coronavirus crisis has sparked talk that the world might have reached peak oil demand but the OPEC cartel sees crude consumption continuing to grow during the next quarter century, driven in large part by greater use of cars in developing countries.

In its latest forecasts, released Thursday, OPEC sees surprisingly little long-term impact despite the coronavirus pandemic plunging the global economy and oil demand into a tailspin.

While the pace of economic recovery will dictate how fast oil consumption rebounds, even OPEC’s scenario of a slow healing sees an eventual return to increased demand.

“At the global level, oil demand is expected to increase by almost 10 mbd (million barrels per day) over the long-term, rising from 99.7 mbd in 2019 to… 109.1 mbd in 2045,” the cartel said in its latest World Oil Outlook.

This baseline scenario represents 9.4 percent growth from pre-coronavirus consumption levels.

Under its slow growth scenario, OPEC expects 5.0 percent growth in oil demand.

And even with fast adoption of green technologies and tougher climate change policies, the cartel still sees a 3.1 percent increase in consumption.

OPEC’s forecast contrasts with that of some industry players, including major oil firms such as BP, which in its latest long-term estimates predicted that oil demand had already peaked or would soon do so thanks to increased use of renewable energy and the impact of the coronavirus.

Yet even the cartel’s forecasts reveal the impact of the changes already underway in certain regions.

It sees oil demand as having

The world’s appetite for crude oil won’t reach its apex for another two decades, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said Thursday, offering a much more optimistic view of the world’s post-coronavirus demand for oil than many other forecasts.

In its annual report on oil’s long-term future, OPEC forecast that global oil demand will keep rising until around 2040, when it will plateau at 109.3 million barrels a day—some 10% above its 2019 level.

The annual report from the Vienna-based cartel offers a far brighter future for the supply and demand of oil and gas than the one offered last month by oil giant

BP


BP 0.59%

PLC. The British company is planning to invest heavily in renewable energy over the coming years. Oil demand may already have peaked, it said in September.

Still, OPEC said demand for crude among the relatively wealthy nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development won’t grow any further and is forecast to drop 27% from 2019 levels in the period to 2045. Speaking at a virtual press conference, OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo described “an evolutionary shift in demand from developed to developing countries.”

The cartel’s global 2040 demand figure was more than one million barrels a day below last year’s forecast of 110.6 million barrels a day. The coronavirus outbreak “resulted in the sharpest downturn in energy and oil demand in living memory” and led to “the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression,” the report said.

Lockdowns and travel restrictions linked to the pandemic’s restrictions resulted in oil market convulsions this year. Forecasters such as OPEC have found it increasingly difficult to predict the short-term future for the amount of energy the world will need this year and next. It will be 2022 before oil demand returns to its

Oct. 6 (UPI) — Peak grain has already passed for several High Plains states, according to a new survey of groundwater depletion across the region.

To more accurately predict future grain yields, researchers looked at the relationship between levels of water extraction from the Ogallala aquifer and the amounts of grain harvested in each state over the last 50 years.

Researchers adapted analysis techniques previously used to study the relationship between peak oil production and peak grain production. The research team detailed the results of their analysis in a new paper, published Tuesday in the journal PNAS.

“We were inspired by insightful analyses of U.S. crude oil production,” lead study author Assaad Mrad, doctoral candidate at Duke University, said in a news release. “They predicted a peak in crude oil production a decade in advance.”

The new analysis showed Texas and Kansas reached peak grain in 2016. Grain yields in the two High Plains states have been declining over the last four years. Without new yield-boosting technologies, grain production in Texas could decline as much as 40 percent by 2050.

Water demand has outstripped supply in recent years, researchers said, as a result of excessive aquifer extraction and delays in irrigation regulations designed to sustainably manage water usage.

“This shows quite clearly that the aquifers are not being used in a sustainable way and it’s essential to find new technologies that can irrigate crops in a sustainable way,” said study co-author David Hannah, professor at the University of Birmingham.

Unlike Texas and Kansas, Nebraska enjoys a wetter climate. Rainfall in Nebraska has allowed farmers to expand grain production without increasing groundwater pumping.

Overall, the latest findings suggest depleted groundwater levels will continue to pose a serious threat to grain production across the High Plains. Many farmers in the region rely