1. Gold Plummets On Strong Dollar Ahead Of Fed Minutes
Gold prices plummeted this morning to hit a one-week low as the dollar strengthened ahead of the release of the latest minutes for the U.S. Federal Reserve’s last monetary policy meeting. Investors are looking forward to the release of the minutes as they will be scanning the report for clues on the pace of interest rate hikes this year. Spot gold was down for a fourth straight session while earlier in the day, prices touched the lowest since Feb. 14, at $1,325.31 an ounce.*
2. Oil Slips As US Oil Output Is Expected To Rise
Oil prices fell on Wednesday, weighed down by a rebound of the U.S. dollar and an expected rise in U.S. oil production. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (USOIL) crude futures were last seen trading at $61.09 a barrel at 8:00 GMT this morning, down 70 cents, from their last settlement. It should be noted that strong dollar decreases demand for greenback-denominated oil imports as it makes oil more expensive for countries using other currencies. Oil prices are also pressured by an ever-surging U.S. production. U.S. is now considered the world’s second-largest oil stream at more than 10 million barrels per day (bpd). It is also important to note that investors will be looking ahead for the next set of weekly U.S. oil production data which is due to be published by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday. This data will also include U.S. inventory figures that are expected to reveal that crude oil stockpiles rose 1.3 million barrels in the week to Feb. 16.
3. Shirai Warns That BOJ Will Struggle To Raise Rates This Year
Former BOJ board member Sayuri Shirai has warned on Thursday that the new Bank of Japan leadership won’t be able to raise interest rates this year. Shirai added that the central bank missed the best opportunity to lift rates in 2017. According to Shirai, stable markets, solid economic growth and a tightening job market would have allowed the BOJ to seek an exit from ultra-easy policy last year. The rising cost of prolonged easing has made the task of engineering a smooth exit from ultra-easy policy, far more challenging for the BOJ.
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