SHANGHAI, Sep 17 (SMM) — This is a roundup of global macroeconomic news last night and what is expected today.
The US dollar gained on Wednesday in choppy trading after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates pinned near zero and said it expects the US economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis to accelerate with unemployment falling faster than the central bank expected in June.
The US central bank said it would keep rates at rock bottom levels until inflation is on track to “moderately exceed” the US central bank’s 2% inflation target “for some time.”
In new economic projections, Fed policymakers at the median see economic growth dropping by 3.7% this year, an improvement from the 6.5% drop projected in June.
Oil prices jumped more than 4% on Wednesday, following a drawdown in US crude and gasoline inventories and as Hurricane Sally forced a swath of US offshore production to shut.
US crude stocks fell 4.4 million barrels last week to 496 million barrels, their lowest since April, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said. US gasoline stocks fell 400,000 barrels, the EIA said, more than double the draw forecast, despite a 4 percentage point hike in refining utilization rates.
Sally, which made landfall on the US Gulf Coast as a Category 2 hurricane, also boosted oil prices as more than a fourth of offshore output shut due to the storm.
Nearly 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) of offshore crude oil production was taken offline in the US Gulf of Mexico, according to the US Interior Department, roughly a third of the shut-ins caused by Hurricane Laura, which landed farther west in August.
Normally, the prospects of lower rates for a prolonged time period spur buying in equities. However, that was not the case on Wednesday.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both closed lower and the Dow ended well off its session high. Big Tech dragged down the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, with Apple, Facebook and Microsoft all closing lower.
“The major indices dipped back to their short-term trading range following the Fed’s announcements, confirming that bulls are still not out of the woods,” said Ken Berman, founder of Gorilla Trades. “While there was nothing scary in today’s Fed announcements, stocks reacted in a bearish fashion, especially in the tech sector.”
US consumer spending appeared to slow in August as extended unemployment benefits were cut for millions of Americans, offering more evidence that the economic recovery from the Covid-19 recession was faltering.
Core retail sales, which correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product, fell 0.1% last month after a downwardly revised 0.9% increase in July, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.
Overall retail sales increased 0.6% in August, in part as higher gasoline prices supported receipts at service stations.
The euro zone's unadjusted trade surplus jumped year-on-year in July, data showed on Wednesday, as imports fell more amid the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic than exports.
The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said the trade surplus of the 19 countries sharing the euro with the rest of the world was 27.9 billion euros ($33.1 billion) in July, up from 23.2 billion a year earlier. Euro zone imports fell 14.3% in the July compared to a year earlier while exports fell only 10.4%.
Adjusted for seasonal swings the trade surplus in July was 20.3 billion euros, up from 16.0 billion in June as seasonally adjusted exports rose 6.5% month-on-month and imports rose only 4.2%.
Shanghai base metals, except for aluminium and zinc, closed lower in overnight trading. Copper slid 0.14%, lead fell 0.63%, nickel weakened 0.78% and tin declined 0.25%, while aluminium added 0.14% and zinc advanced 0.2%.
Their counterparts on the LME traded mixed on Wednesday. Copper rose 0.5%, zinc climbed 0.92% and tin inched up 0.14%, while aluminium edged down 0.03%, lead weakened 0.92% and nickel declined 0.16%.
Key economic data slated for release today include euro zone’s August consumer price index (CPI), US first-time filings for jobless claims in the week ended September 12 and new homes starts for August.