Reliance Industries and Saudi Aramco have called off a deal for the state oil giant to buy a stake in the oil-to-chemicals business of the Indian conglomerate on valuation concerns. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $1.5 billion loan for the Indian government to purchase COVID-19 vaccines.
Markets update | Sensex, Nifty open lower
Indian equity benchmark indices, Sensex and Nifty opened on a negative note amid weak Asian markets. At 9:16 IST, the Sensex was down 722.43 points or 1.23% at 58,072.66 and the Nifty was down 233.90 points or 1.28% at 17,312.40.
Asian stocks fell the most in two months as detection of a new and possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant sent investors rushing towards safe havens.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.3%, and Japan’s Nikkei plunged 2.5%. U.S. crude oil futures fell nearly 2% as well amid fresh demand fears.
Scientists said the variant, detected in South Africa, may be able to evade immune responses and according to the British authorities, it is the most significant variant to date which could even resist vaccines.
Oil falls on concerns of rising surplus
Oil prices fell more than 1% on concerns that a global supply surplus could swell in the first quarter after a coordinated release of crude reserves by major consumers.
Brent crude futures plunged 1.2% to $81.26 a barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 1.7%, to $77.04 a barrel.
The U.S.’s plan to release millions of barrels of oil from strategic reserves in coordination with other large consuming nations is likely to swell supplies in coming months, according to an OPEC source.
—- Edited by John Xavier
(With inputs from Reuters, PTI and other news agencies.)