Europe stocks gain; oil jumps on Middle East tensions

22 Juillet, 2019, 17:42 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Image of Fed Fund futures

The GBP/USD pair slipped 0.1% as concerns over the prospect of a no-deal Brexit continue to build.

New York Fed President John Williams sounded dovish last week, pushing up the odds of the central bank lowering rates by 50 basis points at its July 30-31 meeting.

Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren on Friday pushed back against expectations for an interest-rate cut when Fed policymakers meet later this month, saying the USA economy does not need a boost the way some other countries might.

The resulting risk-on in the U.S. stocks, however, was short-lived with Wall Street shares ending with losses on Friday, as Williams' walked back on hs comments by saying that his speech wa snot about the upcoming policy meeting.

Markets welcomed the news, which some investors took to mean the Fed could cut benchmark lending rates by as much as 50 basis points (bps), something it has not done since the worst moments of the 2008 global financial crisis.

The U.S. dollar index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies inched up 0.1% to 96.875 by 1:01 AM ET (05:01 GMT).

In commodities, Brent crude futures were up 1.55% at $63.44 per barrel following an increase of about 0.9% on Friday.

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The dollar fell against the Japanese yen, with up 0.4% to 107.64. It was also lower against the euro at 89.98 EURGBP=D3.

There was some upbeat news for investors as China's Xinhua news agency said importers had started an arrangement to buy USA agricultural goods, a week after President Donald Trump warned he could impose more tariffs if Beijing did not move quickly enough on the trade talks.

All this interest rate speculation ended up overshadowing news that Iran said it seized two British-flagged oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, raising tension in the area a day after the United States claimed to have shot down an Iranian drone (which the Iranians naturally denied).

In commodities, Brent crude futures and U.S. crude futures jumped more than $1 dollar to $63.86 and $56.7 per barrel following a 1 per cent jump on Friday.

Oil prices jumped Monday after Iran seized a British tanker in the Gulf, fuelling fresh concerns about supplies and a possible conflict in the crude-rich Middle East.

Spot gold hovered at $1,425.9 an ounce after rising as high as $1,452.60 on Friday, its strongest since May 2013.

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