FirstFT: Biden authorises release of oil from US strategic stockpile

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President Joe Biden has announced the release of oil from the US’s strategic stockpile in an attempt to drive down petrol prices and snuff out a crude market rally that the White House has said poses a threat to the global economic recovery.

The White House yesterday said that the president was authorising the release of 50m barrels of oil — about 2.5 days worth of US oil consumption — “over the coming months”, in a move co-ordinated with China, India, Japan, South Korea and the UK.

But an effort to drive down oil prices that have doubled in the past year appeared to backfire, as international crude benchmark Brent rose more than 2 per cent on the news, to trade at about $81.40 a barrel on Tuesday morning in London.

Biden linked the release to efforts to beat back sharply rising inflation, saying Americans were “feeling the impact of elevated gas prices at the pump and in their home heating bills, and American businesses are, too, because oil supply has not kept up with demand as the global economy emerges from the pandemic”.

Do you agree with Biden’s decision? Tell me what you think at firstft@ft.com. Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia. — Emily

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© China shipping location data

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Coronavirus digest

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  • In a rare instance of public opposition, three top Chinese health scholars have challenged state monitoring of phone location data to identify close contacts.

  • Thousands in England have scheduled Covid-19 booster shots in a “bookings boom” as those aged 40 to 49-years-old became eligible to receive a third jab.

  • Millions of employees are wielding newfound leverage in the post-pandemic labour market to gain better pay and benefits. This is the second part of an FT series analysing how Covid-19 changed the way millions think about work.

    Line chart of Monthly number of resignations, in thousands, seasonally adjusted showing More US workers are quitting their jobs

The day ahead

New Zealand rate decision The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is expected to raise interest rates today to cool a hot economy and runaway housing market, in a decision that will be closely watched by central banks around the world.

US economic data Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes will be published along with the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation — the personal consumption expenditures price index — for October.

What else we’re reading

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Do you agree support Beijing’s crackdown on tutoring? Tell us what you think in our latest poll.

© Beijing’s crackdown on tutoring poll

Dancing on the edge of climate disaster How are we to assess the outcome of COP26 in Glasgow? It would be reasonable to conclude that it was both triumph and disaster — triumph, in that some notable steps forward have been taken, and disaster, in that they fall far short of what is needed, writes Martin Wolf.

How Tesla gained influence over the markets The carmaker’s role in the ebb and flow of the stock market, otherwise called the “Tesla-financial complex”, is greater than its $1.1tn valuation implies. Robin Wigglesworth looks at the web of dependent investment vehicles, corporate emulators and an enormous associated derivatives market behind its influence.

© Chart showing Tesla’s influence

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Food & drink

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Thank you for reading and remember you can add FirstFT to myFT. Send your recommendations and feedback to firstft@ft.com

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