Central bankers will be the center of attention over the next couple of days, with a number of policymakers appearing, including Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, ECB President Mario Draghi and the Bank of England Governor Mark Carney.
The U.S. dollar is mixed against major pairs after a week where Fed speakers offered a mixed narrative. The majority of policy makers agree that the massive balance sheet accumulated during the quantitative easing program from the U.S. central bank should start shrinking sooner rather than later. The point of debate remains the number of rate hikes in the horizon, with St. Louis Fed President James Bullard calling it "unnecessarily aggressive."
A renewed sell-off in crude oil prices amid oversupply concerns effectively dented risk sentiment on Wednesday with global stocks exposed to heavy losses as oil bears pressured equity bulls. European markets were punished by the sharp decline in energy shares and the bearish contagion was swift to contaminate Wall Street which concluded mostly lower. Although Asian stocks edged cautiously higher during Thursday’s trading session, the lack of appetite for risk may limit upside gains.