Oil and US share prices tumble over fears for global economy

S&P 500 suffers its worst day since September as new data showing American fuel stockpiles have hit record levels saw Brent crude fall to below $30 a barrel

US stocks fell heavily on Wednesday, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 falling 2.5% to take the index below 1,900 points for the first time since September, due to growing concerns about the falling oil price, which dipped below $30 a barrel for the first time in nearly 12 years.

The S&P 500, which closed at 1,890 points, suffered its worst day since September and has fallen by 10% since its November peak taking it into “correction” territory, something that has not happened since August 2014.

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America is finally waking up to its inequality problem

Under Obama, the economic recovery has bypassed almost all Americans. They won’t stay silent for ever – and Bernie Sanders could be their inspiration

To critique Barack Obama’s presidency is to be guilty of these cardinal sins: blasphemy, ingratitude and a lack of realism. What was once the nation of Jim Crow produced the first African-American president, the most liberal commander-in-chief since Richard Nixon (as Obama himself once put it). Funny, charming, with a coolness that eludes practically every other politician, he is the ultimate ambassador for US power. Could the United States possibly elect someone more progressive?

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Spread of internet has not conquered ‘digital divide’ between rich and poor – report

Study by World Bank praises potential of technology to transform lives, but warns of risk of creating a ‘new underclass’ of the disconnected

The rapid spread of the internet and mobile phones around the globe has failed to deliver the expected boost to jobs and growth, the World Bank has revealed in a report that highlights a growing digital divide between rich and poor.

The Bank said no other technology has reached more people in so short a time as the internet, but warned that the development potential of technological change had yet to be reaped.

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The Guardian view on the geopolitics of falling oil prices | Editorial

Some rue the get-rich-quick allure of oil in emerging nations. Whatever happens, the geopolitical consequences of falling prices are myriad and unpredictable

In the geopolitics of oil production, predictions are always risky. However important it may be, the price of crude is never the single factor driving events. That a global shakeup will occur if the spectacular tumble in prices persists is, however, a fairly safe bet. Witness how record highs and lows in oil have affected international relations and political developments over the last four decades.

The oil shocks of the 1970s reshaped the global landscape and lent new significance to the Middle East. When prices collapsed in the mid-1980s, the Soviet Union’s final demise owed much to the collapse in its export revenues. Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait derived in part from an ambition to capture new lands at a time of financial stringency. In Algeria, another country dependent on oil revenues, that same price collapse – which reduced the price of crude to below $10 a barrel – contributed to an election victory for Islamists, then a coup, and then civil war. All of this makes it difficult to draw clearcut conclusions about strategic winners and losers. Of course, the liberal democracies of the west benefited from the end of the Soviet bloc, but it is hard to argue that low oil prices in the Arab and Muslim world led to much peace and stability.

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