The retreat in the oil price has dented the FTSE this morning as oil majors and a number of miners lost some ground. Shares in Aviva are also struggling as the insurer undergoes changes at its helm, losing its CEO with immediate effect. But it is the banking sector that is currently seeing the highest volume of trade having received an indirect boost from strong earnings by Swiss heavy weight Credit Suisse. On Wall Street the S&P and Nasdaq posted an all-time high but that did not spill into Asian markets where China’s economic direction remains the dominant factor.
Oil looking for the new normal
Oil prices have yet to settle around a new normal level. The confluence of intensified sanctions on Iran, fresh problems with supplies from Libya and existing sanctions on Venezuela are keeping prices at six month highs although they notched lower this morning. What happens next will largely depend on the next OPEC meeting in May when oil producers meet to discuss whether to keep the current output restrictions in place or ease the flow to prevent higher prices.
German data knocks euro
The euro is losing some ground against the dollar and sterling in the wake of weaker German business confidence numbers. German Ifo data showed an unexpected decline in March, particularly in the manufacturing sector, hit by China trade disputes and Brexit. The pound is doing very little against other majors, enjoying the calm before the Brexit storm inevitably takes over again.
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