On a quite Friday, focus will remain on the oil market and the Fed as traders try to dissect the wide ranging views of policy makers in order to anticipate when the next rate hike will actually happen.
We had more comments from policy makers on Thursday but once again, there was no consistent messages and John Williams – who earlier in the week sent the dollar into a tailspin after suggesting that the inflation target should be higher, which suggested there was little desire to raise rates – claimed there should be a hike sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile we also heard from a couple of his colleagues – William Dudley and Robert Kaplan – and again the message wasn’t necessarily consistent with Dudley reiterating that the US economy is strong, as displayed by the labour market data, while Kaplan claimed that while there is some room for manoeuvre on interest rates, it’s limited. With other messages from policy makers being more inconsistent again, it’s no surprise that the markets are changing their mind on the timing of the next hike on almost a daily basis. If the Fed clearly isn’t sure when it’s going to happen, how are investors meant to accurately price it in.
The other focal point for investors at the moment is the oil market, where the price of crude continues to climb on the growing expectation that OPEC could agree to a price freeze or cut when it meets on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum next month. Saudi Arabia, the most important player in the cartel, has played up these reports recently but I do still remain sceptical. It seems there’s always a desire to find a solution ahead of these events and yet, the dream is always more promising than the reality. The markets though clearly believe it is a strong possibility this time.
With Brent crude trading back above $50 a barrel and WTI potentially also looking to cross the threshold soon enough, a deal is clearly at least partially priced in. Should no deal be forthcoming then we could quickly see prices heading back towards $40 once again.
Source – OANDA fxTrade Platform
Brent and WTI are both trading marginally lower so far today, with traders eyeing the Baker Hughes oil rig count data, released later on in the session. Should we see an eighth consecutive weekly rise in the number of rigs in the US, it may further alleviate some of the upward pressure on oil prices which have only increased over the course of this week.
For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.
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