Beijing probes Didi on cybersecurity

In Asia, with Beijing’s cybersecurity probe of ride-hailing giant Didi Global Inc. taking center stage, stocks fell Wednesday and Treasuries held a rally on concerns about the economic recovery from the pandemic, virus variants and China’s scrutiny of the technology sector. Japanese stocks slid but Australian shares weathered an extension to Sydney’s Covid-19 lockdown. Focus in Asia this week would turn to China to release the PPI and CPI data set to release on Friday.

In the U.S, 10yr treasury yields hit February lows in U.S. hours in part on slower-than-expected service-sector growth, with short covering exacerbating the move. The S&P 500 dipped 0.2% from opening levels and the Nasdaq 100 reached a record overnight gaining about 0.1%.

Oil prices jumped on OPEC+ dispute as the organization abandoned the meeting on a supposed output plan potentially leaving the market with much tighter supply. Brent reached a peak of $77.82 per barrel before tumbling as a stronger dollar spurred a sell-off in commodities. The international benchmark is on the recovery and back above $75 having touched $74.20 earlier in the session.

Cote d’Ivoire’s long-term foreign currency debt rating was affirmed by S&P at BB- with its outlook stable. There is the expectation that the Ivorian economy should rebound by 6% in 2021 and economic growth to average 6.5% over 2022-2024, following the 2020 COVID-19-induced dip. Continuous structural economic reforms, supported by the implementation of a third five-year National Development Plan (NDP), underpin strong prospects for economic growth and budgetary consolidation. External and government financing will likely decline but remain significant, given large investment needs for key infrastructure and the narrow tax base, reflecting among other things the country’s low GDP per capita.