After slipping from headlines for 24 hours, the United States and China trade tensions are stealing the show once again. Benchmarks around the globe are taking note and Europe is adding to pressures with Italian debt climbing on political concerns. The all-awaited June OPEC Meeting is underway. Saudi Arabia has defended the proposition to raise output by pointing to tighter supply fundamentals that could lead to a deficit later this year.
As is often the case with central bank meetings in the era of communication-as-a-policy-tool, the Bank of England’s “decision” (read: no change) on interest rates was already telegraphed well in advance. But for the always forward-looking markets, there was still plenty to digest from this morning’s BOE statement.
OPEC speculation and a strong dollar on trade war fears is providing highs and lows on the crude oil market. Oil was rallying on a big 5.9 million barrels draw in inventory, and a record-breaking week for U.S. refiners as they ran a seasonal record 17.7 million barrels a day crude oil last week according to Energy Information Administration data.
Markets have calmed down since yesterday’s big risk asset selloff, but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing exciting on the horizon for traders. Namely, tomorrow’s Bank of England meeting should provide some important insights into Mark Carney and company see policy unfolding moving forward.
The U.S. dollar has jumped to its strongest level in nearly a year, raising questions about how a strong greenback could act as a drag on debt and oil demand in much of the world. The U.S. Federal Reserve announced another rate hike a few days ago, which helped edge up the dollar to a new high for the year.
The outlook for sterling remains tilted to the downside, especially when factoring in how Brexit-related uncertainty and political risk may force the Bank of England to delay monetary policy normalization this summer.
Global equity benchmarks are ripping back this morning as trade tensions have found a way into the back seat of investors’ minds. In fact, the small-cap and domestically focused Russell 2000 notched a record high on Monday, matched it yesterday and extended such gains in today’s session.