The world this week -- Business
It was another roller-coaster week for energy prices.
After OPEC and its allies resisted calls to increase output, the price of Brent crude surpassed $80 per barrel and reached its highest level in three years.
The cartel said it would stick to the gradual increases in output it agreed to over the summer.
The energy shortage rattled other financial markets too, as investors worried about the fallout.
In America and Europe government bond yields climbed.
In Britain the yield on ten-year gilts jumped to its highest since May 2019.
In Europe the price of natural gas front-month futures jumped by more than 60% in two days.
But prices soon reversed when Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, hinted that his country could supply additional gas to Europe.
In Asia the coal shortage dragged on.
Power cuts have been reported across China.
Authorities there have told miners to increase production.
India is braced for power shortages.
Half of its coal-fired power plants are on alert for blackouts.
In the euro area rising energy prices contributed to high inflation.
In September the euro area’s inflation rate rose to 3.4%, the highest level in 13 years.
In Germany consumer prices rose by 4.1% in the same month, a 29-year high.
America’s trade deficit in goods and services grew to a record $73bn in August, up 4.3% from the previous month.
Imports rose by $4bn from July, because of an increase in consumer demand.
But trade in vehicles and car parts fell, as a result of the semiconductor shortage.
Facebook users experienced a long outage this week.
The social-media platform and its subsidiaries, WhatsApp and Instagram, were down for several hours.
The firm’s share price fell by 4.9% on Monday.
It blamed an internal malfunction and said there was no evidence that users’ data had been compromised.
Meanwhile, Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee who is now a whistleblower, testified before a Senate subcommittee.
She claimed that Facebook’s products “harm children, stoke division and weaken...democracy”, and that documents she leaked to the Wall Street Journal showed the company is aware of this.
In a statement Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s boss, said that the firm’s work and motives have been mischaracterised.