Niger's president was ousted in a military coup on July 26th, the latest in the country's coup-ridden history, sparking threats of military action and pro-coup unrest in the capital. West African bloc ECOWAS leaders imposed sanctions and threatened force, demanding the junta restore order amid a wave of power grabs across the politically unstable region. However, the coup leaders have found support from neighbouring Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, who have warned they will defend Niger against outside intervention. The US has not formally called it a coup to avoid cutting aid but has evacuated diplomatic staff and ordered troops to pull back to base. French energy company EDF says it is confident in its diversified uranium supply strategy to maintain stable nuclear fuel supplies, despite rebel groups in Niger recently banning uranium exports that accounted for 15% of the EU's total imports.
Major U.S. stock indexes fell on Wednesday, led by declines in technology stocks, as investors took profits after five straight months of gains. Stocks sensitive to interest rates like Tesla, Nvidia, Meta, and Apple tumbled as Treasury yields rose to their highest level in a year. Despite the losses, corporate earnings remained strong, with nearly 80% of S&P 500 companies beating analysts' expectations so far this quarter.
Gold prices fell this week as employment data from the U.S. raised interest rate concerns. Gold also saw little safe haven demand despite a U.S. credit rating downgrade. Analysts say positive economic signs driving bets on Fed tightening and dollar strength outweigh the rating move, which bodes poorly for gold prices.
Oil prices edged higher on Thursday following a sharp drop the previous session as a strengthening dollar offset optimism over a massive decline in U.S. crude inventories that caused the fall. The dollar strengthened despite a ratings agency downgrading the U.S. sovereign rating. Prices were also pressured by increased risk aversion and profit taking after hitting three-month highs earlier in the week.
The dollar charged ahead Wednesday as upbeat jobs data and economic strength powered past Fitch's rating downgrade. Other currencies like the euro and pound retreated against the muscular dollar amid shifting central bank outlooks and the greenback's enduring safe haven shine. China's yuan, however, managed to creep higher Thursday, supported by the central bank's stronger-than-expected fixings and faster service activity in July.