Weekly news summary for February 12 to February 18

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Friday, Feb. 12, 2021: UK Economy Contracts by the Most in 300 Years

The UK economy declined by the most in 300 years in 2020 as COVID-19 pandemic and sluggish business investment due to Brexit weighed on the country’s economic performance, with its gross domestic product (GDP) contracting 7.8% last year, although it was better than forecasts for an 8.1% slump.

Quarterly expansion of 1% through December suggested that the UK may avoid a technical recession or two consecutive quarters of contraction.

Monday, Feb. 15, 2021: Oil Prices Up 13-month Highs on Texas Blackouts

Oil prices rose to 13-month highs on Monday as the Arctic freeze strengthened demand for heating oil and prompted the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to order rolling blackouts in the state that represents most of the US’s oil and gas production.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures climbed 2.1% to $60.72 per barrel, while global benchmark Brent crude oil futures added 1.5% to $63.37 per barrel.

Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021: Major Miners’ Payouts Reinforce Supercycle Talk

Metal prices continued their robust performance on Tuesday, with platinum posting a 6/1-2 year high of $1,336.50 per ounce and copper futures climbing to its highest since 2012 of $8,406 per ton.

The support was mainly due to hopes for robust global demand and only a lagged response from the supply side, while gains in the past few months are gradually encouraging new supercycle talk, with major miners BHP Billiton and Glencore plc announcing huge dividends payouts.

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021: Berkshire Hathaway Reduces Apple Stake

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has reduced its stake in Apple Inc., using some of the proceeds to bet on Chevron Corp., Verizon Wireless, and Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc.

While Berkshire had trimmed its positions in Apple, it remains the largest institutional investor in the US tech giant with a stake amounting to $120 billion, while its stake in Verizon stood at $8.6 billion as of Dec. 31, and its Chevron stake was worth $4.1 billion.

Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021: Asian Stocks Fall as Investors Lock-in Gains

Asian equities dropped on Thursday as investors locked in their gains on industries with recent strong performances in a sign of increasing concerns over global stocks’ recent rally.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.81%, and Chinese stocks fell on their first trading day after the Lunar New Year, while signs of upbeat global sentiment were supported by advances in the Euro Stoxx 50 futures, DAX futures, and the FTSE futures.

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