Your weekly briefing: What to watch in the world and markets

A shocking development in the global oil markets as the small oil-rich nation of Qatar announced on early Monday that it was withdrawing from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as of January 2019. This comes just days ahead of a critical meeting member nations will hold.

The decision to withdraw from the OPEC 57 years after it joined the club followed what the country’s energy minister Saad al-Kaabi said was a review of means to optimize Doha’s international role and long-term strategy.

Kaabi told a press conference that the oil monopoly organization has been informed of the withdrawal of the world’s top liquefied natural gas (LNG) and that Qatar’s motives were not “political.”

With the financial week having begun with this news, here are other top developments you need to watch:

On Thursday, December 6, OPEC member countries will hold their much-awaited 175th Ordinary meeting in the Austrian capital of Vienna. The topics they discuss though will not be that ordinary in the face of the bearish oil market and US President Donald Trump’s hostility towards them.

The most pressing issue on the table will be their previously-declared intention of cutting oil production in a bid to lift up the prices once again from the currently lowest levels seen in years. The group’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia agreed with the energy-allied Russia to go ahead with cuts at the G20 summit over the weekend when President Vladimir Putin met with Crown Prince MbS.

The outgoing Qatar will attend the meeting for the last time.

A 90-day truce China and the US agreed on at the G20 will give room to more talks on how to resolve the trade war tensions. Respective official teams of US President Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are to resume negotiations.

In Europe, Brexit tensions are building up ahead of the December 11 vote in the British House of Commons. Prime Minister Theresa May’s opponents within her ruling Conservative Party are struggling to gather 48 letters to start a process of ousting her. As it has become the norm with recent high-profile resignations, the Westminster will certainly not have an easy week with heated debates to take place through the media and at the Parliament floors.

Italy and the EU are to continue talks over the former’s rejected 2019 budget with the hope of decreasing the deficit target.

On Tuesday, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney is scheduled to appear in front of the House of Commons Treasury Committee to testify about the future of the country’s economy and what might happen in many Brexit scenarios. His views and remarks will be of significance. On the same day, the BoE will release its Monetary Policy Committee minutes.

The following day, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is to deliver a speech at an event in Frankfurt whereas US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is set to testify on the economic outlook before the Congressional Joint Economic Committee.

One of the most closely-watched data of the week will be the release of the monthly US non-farm payrolls and the unemployment rate on Friday.


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