Here are the latest developments in global markets:
- FOREX: In currency markets, stronger-than-expected inflation figures in the UK justified the Bank of England’s potential plans to raise interest rates faster than expected, pushing pound/dollar towards a four-day high of 1.3923 (+0.49%). Pound/yen, though, recovered slightly to 149.62 but remained down on the day (-0.46%) as a rising yen weighed on the pair. Dollar/yen stretched down towards a new five-month trough of 107.41 (-0.97%) and dollar/swissie retreated to a one-week low of 0.9328 (-0.69%) as investors maintained their risk-averse mood amid recent volatility in stock markets, supporting safe-haven assets. Euro/dollar extended its uptrend towards 1.2349 (+0.44%) in the face of a falling dollar, however, a potentially fragile coalition deal in Germany and uncertainties around the upcoming Italian general elections in early March restricted further upside momentum. Dollar/loonie remained steady at 1.2577.
- STOCKS: In Europe, stock markets were weaker as the two-day recovery in Wall Street equities could not convince investors that the recent turmoil in stock markets was fading. The pan-European STOXX 600 and the blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 were trading 0.10% and 0.22% lower at 1030 GMT, dragged by losses in telecommunications. The German DAX fell by 0.17%, the French CAC 40 declined by 0.22%, while the Spanish IBEX 35 and the Italian FTSE MIB retreated by 0.75%. The British FTSE 100 was flat, while US stock futures were in the red, pointing to a negative open.
- COMMODITIES: Oil prices posted losses after the Paris-based International Energy Agency said in its monthly report on Tuesday that growth in the US production could outpace rises in demand in 2018. WTI crude and Brent were last seen at $58.98/barrel (-0.51%) and $62.45/barrel (-0.22%) respectively. In precious metals, gold extended upwards to touch a fresh one-week high at $1330.78/ounce (+0.42%).
Day ahead: API weekly oil report pending; Japanese flash GDP growth figures in the spotlight in Asia
The calendar will be light of economic releases during the European afternoon, with the American Petroleum Institute (API) publishing its weekly report on the US oil stocks later in the day at 2135 GMT.
However, Australian and Japanese economic releases scheduled for delivery in early Asian trading will be gathering greater attention.
At 2335 GMT, the Westpac Banking Corporation will give updates on the Australian consumer sentiment for the month of February, while a few minutes later at 2350 GMT, the Japanese Cabinet Office will release preliminary GDP growth readings for the final quarter of 2017. According to analysts, the Japanese economy is expected to expand at a slower pace in the aforementioned period, posting the lowest growth rate seen since the second quarter of 2016; though analysts expect the deceleration to be temporary. Particularly, the annualized GDP growth measure is anticipated to slow down to 0.9% after surging by 2.5% in the preceding quarter. On a quarterly basis, the gauge is said to ease by 0.4 percentage points to 0.2%, probably being dragged by a trimmed trade surplus. The consumption GDP growth component, though, is projected to positively contribute to GDP, in contrast to the preceding quarter.
Regarding today’s public appearances, the Cleveland Fed President, Loretta Mester, will be speaking on the US economic outlook at 1300 GMT. She holds voting rights within the FOMC in 2018.
In equities, the earnings season continues to gather attention, having the potential to affect market sentiment.