The US stock markets recorded their biggest gains in 2014 on Wednesday after dovish Federal Reserve statement. The dollar rose against the yen and the euro after Fed’s statement. Market indexes soared after the Federal Open Market Committee statement that central bank is prepared to hike interest rates as early as the middle of next year, but will be “patient” about the timing of the first rate hike, replacing the “considerable time” language from the previous statement. Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen sounded upbeat on the economy but noted that there was room for improvement. We deem investors optimism was boosted by the Fed’s upbeat assessment of US economy recovery, which makes US assets and dollar more attractive compared with other markets struggling to reverse deflationary developments and negative consequences of geopolitical crises. At 14:30 CET Initial Jobless Claims for the week ended December 13 will be released in US with a tentative forecast of a slight increase compared with the previous month. At 16:00 CET Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey will be released, tentative forecast indicating a lower level of activity compared with the previous month. Disappointing reports may result in a weakening of dollar.
European stock markets closed higher after a rebound in oil prices. Today at 10:30 CET Retail Sales m/m will be published in the UK, with the forecast of decreasing sales compared with the change in previous month. We expect this will cause a short term fluctuation in Pound rate contributing to its relative weakening against major currencies. At 10:00 CET German Ifo Business Climate index will be published, the tentative outlook is positive and the positive report may strengthen the single European currency. Elsewhere, the ruble ended a two-week slide after the Central Bank of Russia loosened restrictions on how much money Russian banks need to hold in reserve, and started selling dollars to stop ruble’s decline. Japan’s Nikkei share average jumped 2.5 percent today in morning trade after the US Federal Reserve gave an upbeat assessment of the US economy.
Oil continues rising after Brent for February settlement increased 2 percent yesterday. Investors are weighing the reports of falling crude supplies in US and Iran offering discounts for January shipments for Asia. The US Energy Information Administration reported crude stockpiles in the US, the world’s largest oil consumer, fell by 847,000 barrels last week. Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said Iran “will under no conditions let go of its share” of the market given restrictions on its exports in recent years. US Energy Information Administration data indicated US oil production expanded for a fourth week through December 12 to 9.14 million barrels a day, the highest level in weekly data that started in January 1983. There is no sign that any major producer is planning to curb its output as oil has slumped more than 20 percent since OPEC decided at a meeting last month to maintain its output quota.
Olam International Ltd., which agreed this week to buy Archer-Daniels-Midland Co.’s cocoa business to become top-three processor of beans, predicts cocoa prices will probably advance for a fourth consecutive year in 2015, driven by a global shortage. The company estimates demand will exceed supply by 120,000 metric tons in the season started October 1 because of lower output in West Africa, the world’s biggest growing region.