Friday, December 15: In Today’s Markets…
1. Dollar Dips On U.S. Tax Bill Concerns
The dollar dipped in early Friday trade, after wrangling over a bill to change the U.S. tax code spread uncertainty in the markets. Specifically, two U.S. Republican senators were reported to have sought changes to the proposed legislation to the overhaul of the U.S. tax code late on Thursday. The greenback dropped to an eight-day low of 112.065 overnight after having climbed to a one-month high of 113.750 yen on Tuesday. Gold prices benefited from the weaker dollar and headed for their first weekly gain. Meanwhile the euro was also weakened by the dovish stance of the European Central Bank which signalled it would maintain stimulus for as long as needed.*
2. Yen Edges Higher On Strong Tankan Indices
The Japanese Yen edged higher today, as a weaker dollar and strong Tankan Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing Indices pushed JPY pairs higher. The quarterly business outlook survey by Japan’s central bank revealed that corporate sentiment has improved to its highest level in 11 years in the latest upbeat signal for the Japanese economy. The Bank of Japan’s “tankan” index for large manufacturers, released Friday, was 25 in December, up from 22 in September. This marks the fifth straight quarterly improvement and the strongest reading since December 2006. It should be noted that Japan’s economy has gathered momentum thanks to a recovery in exports after improving conditions in China, the United States and other major markets.**
3. Oil Prices Trade Higher On North Sea Pipeline Outage
Oil prices edged higher on Friday, lifted by a pipeline outage in the North Sea and ongoing production cuts imposed by OPEC. It should be noted however, that rising production in the United States has kept a lid on profits. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (USOIL) added 0.4 percent to trade at $57.30 a barrel as of 8:00 GMT, today, up 20 cents from its last settlement. Current consensus is that if the pipeline outage lasts for several weeks oil prices should continue to experience an uplift.***
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