April 19, 2016 - 7:12 PM EDT
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Oil tumbles after Kuwait strike ends, as Chinese shares slide - businesss live

block-time published-time 7.46am BST

Oil tumbles as Kuwait strike ends

The oil price is in retreat this morning after Kuwaiti workers ended a three day strike.

Brent crude has slumped by 2.5% already, down over $1 to $42.95 per barrel, as traders anticipate more oil flowing from Kuwait again.

Workers had walked out on Sunday, protesting against austerity cutbacks that will hit their wages and benefits. It’s not clear what concessions they have been handed, though, in return for ending their display of labour power.

Kuwaiti oil workers sat at the union’s headquarters in Al-Ahmadi yesterday. Photograph: Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP/Getty Images

Associated Press has the details:

The state-run Kuwait News Agency reported that the unions ended the strike by praising the country’s ruling emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, and saying their action showed their “ability to affect the production process.”

The unions “entrusted his highness, the emir, (with) the protection of rights of the employees in the oil sector,” the unions said, according to KUNA. It said workers wouldn’t be disciplined for taking part in the strike.

Adel al-Fadhel, a spokesman for the Kuwait Oil Company Workers’ Union, confirmed workers would go back to work Wednesday. He said Sheikh Sabah spoke to the head of one of the unions Tuesday by telephone to assure his support for the workers.

“We’re glad to announce that the strike has succeeded in preserving the rights of the workers in the oil sector,” al-Fadhel told The Associated Press. “His highness, the emir, intervened and guaranteed to preserve the rights of the workers according to the law.”

Around half of Kuwait’s usual oil production had been taken offline by the strike, which helped drive oil prices higher on Monday and Tuesday.

Now, though, traders can return to worrying about supply gluts, and Opec’s seeming inability to do anything about it.....

enltr #Oil declines as Kuwait workers end strike after 3-Day disruption. pic.twitter.com/4d0ddrm2bx

— Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) April 20, 2016

block-time published-time 7.21am BST

The agenda: UK jobs report; EU vs Google

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

Coming up today.....

At 9.30am, the latest UK unemployment figures are released. Economists expect the UK jobless claimant count to fall by another 10,000 people, while the unemployment rate remains at 5.1%.

But today’s report may also show that wage growth remains lacklustre. Average earnings growth (ex-bonuses) is tipped to slow to 2.1%, from 2.2% a month ago.

There may be drama in Brussels this morning, if the European Commission hits Google with anti-competitive charges concerning its Android mobile phone operating system.

Margrethe Vestager, European competition commissioner, is expected to make the announcement today:

Related: EU chief to charge Google over anti-competitive practices, sources say

Closer to home, the bosses of the Port Talbot steel plant in South Wales may announce a buyout plan for the site.

This could ask employees to invest up to £10,000 each, to help take the plant off Tata UK’s hands.

Related: Senior Port Talbot staff ‘to announce buyout plan for Tata Steel plant’

After hitting four-month highs yesterday, European markets are expected to dip at the start of trading:

enltrOur European opening calls: $FTSE 6377 down 29
$DAX 10308 down 41
$CAC 4546 down 21 $IBEX 8929 down 42 $MIB 18356 down 92

— IGSquawk (@IGSquawk) April 20, 2016

And we’re getting corporate results from (among others), UK chipmaker ARM, pub chain Punch Taverns and builders group Travis Perkins.

enltrUK companies posting numbers today - N Brown, ARM Holdings, Moneysupermarket, GKN, Travis Perkins, Punch Taverns

David Buik (@truemagic68) April 20, 2016

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Source: Equities.com News (April 19, 2016 - 7:12 PM EDT)

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