Stocks are steady today, while the US$ is mixed but mostly unchanged, with the main focus of the session being in oil which saw WTI jump by almost 3% due to a decline in US inventories and also after sources signalled that Saudi Arabia would be happy to see the crude price at closer to $100 a barrel. WTI closed above 68.00 for the first time since Dec 2014.
In the currency markets, while ranges have been mostly narrow the main focus was on Sterling, which fell sharply after the UK CPI missed market expectations and raised doubts on a BoE May interest rate hike. Elsewhere, the dollar was generally steady, but underpinned by higher US yields (10Y: 2.87%) and the view that the Fed will raise interest rates several times in 2018.
Thursday will get off to a busy start with the imminent release of the Q1 NZ CPI (exp 0.5%qq, 1.1%yy), to be followed by the Australian NAB Business Conditions/Confidence and Unemployment data (exp +25K, 5.4%, PR-65.6%). Europe will look to the EU Current Account and more UK data, this time the March Retail Sales (exp 0.2%mm, 1.1%yy; Ex-Fuel -1.7%mm, +2.0%yy), while the US will be thin again, with just the Philadelphia Fed Mfg Survey (exp 20.9) and the weekly Jobless Claims due, although there will be plenty of Fed speakers; Brainard, Quarles, Mester and also the BOE’s Cunnliffe. Have a good day.
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