The daily business briefing: December 5, 2022
Sam Bankman-Fried promises to testify to Congress about FTX collapse, G7 cap on Russian oil prices takes effect, and more
FTX founder vows to testify to Congress about crypto firm's collapse
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried tweeted on Sunday that he will testify before the House Financial Services Committee as soon as he has "finished learning and reviewing what happened" to cause the cryptocurrency exchange to collapse. "I would feel like it was my duty to appear before the committee and explain," Bankman-Fried wrote, adding he was "not sure that will happen" in time for him to appear at a planned Dec. 13 committee hearing. FTX, once valued at $32 billion, filed for bankruptcy last month. CEO John Ray III, who took over after Bankman-Fried resigned, wrote in bankruptcy filings that the company suffered from a "complete failure of corporate controls" under the leadership of "a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated, and potentially compromised individuals."
G7 starts enforcing price cap on Russian oil
The Group of Seven price cap on Russian oil took effect Monday. The G7, the European Union, and Australia will enforce the policy in a bid to limit Moscow's financing of its war in Ukraine. The EU also has imposed an embargo on imports of Russian crude by sea. The United States, Canada, Japan, and Britain have announced similar policies. The G7 price cap bars shipment of Russian oil to third-party countries using G7 and EU tankers, insurance companies, and credit institutions unless the oil is priced at or below the cap of $60 per barrel, under the latest market price of about $67 a barrel. Russian officials said Saturday that Moscow would "not accept" the price cap.
Reform candidates make gains in United Auto Workers vote
Reform-minded candidates won several United Auto Workers positions and put up unexpectedly strong challenges for top leadership posts in a union election held under a federal corruption settlement. The UAW's leaders used to be picked by delegates at a convention, but all members were allowed to vote for the first time in these elections. In the race for UAW president, incumbent Ray Curry led challenger Shawn Fain by 614 votes, 38.2 percent to 37.6 percent, according to unofficial results posted early Sunday on a federal court-appointed monitor's website. Since nobody in the five-candidate field got 50 percent, Curry and Fain will advance to a January runoff. Reform candidates won two of the three vice-presidential slots, with two Curry allies headed to a runoff for the third.
Stock futures fall as investors await economic data
U.S. stock futures fell early Monday ahead of a final flurry of economic data before Federal Reserve officials meet later in December to make their next decision on raising interest rates to fight high inflation. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down 0.4 percent at 6:45 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were down 0.2 percent. The three major U.S. averages closed little changed on Friday. A strong November jobs report initially dragged down the indexes, but they recovered as investors bet that Fed leaders would start slowing the pace of their rate hikes at their Dec. 13 to 14 policy meeting.
Oil prices rise slightly as China eases some COVID restrictions
Oil prices rose by about 2 percent on Monday as China continued to ease some restrictions under its "zero-COVID" strategy, potentially increasing fuel demand. Prices also got a boost from the announcement that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers led by Russia had agreed not to change oil production targets, citing uncertainty about newly announced Western price caps on Russian oil sales. The OPEC+ nations agreed in October to cut production by 2 million barrels a day in October, angering the White House as the U.S. grappled with high gas prices weeks before the midterm elections. Oil and gasoline prices have fallen significantly since then for various reasons.