Crude Prices Fall Ahead of OPEC Meeting on Thursday

US stock markets were mostly flat overnight with all three major indices (Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100) closing within 0.1% of their prior closes. Bitcoin, on the other hand, made new highs and is now close to the US$10,000 per coin level. ASX 200 futures are pointing to a slightly lower open this morning.  

The new Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, is due to face the Senate confirmation hearing where he will likely be asked questions about inflation and unemployment. Broadly speaking, Powell's views are expected to be in line with Janet Yellen's and therefore markets aren't expecting a large change in policy once the handover takes place although we will get more clarity on this at the confirmation hearing. Technically the senate could reject Powell for the job but this is not likely as he has broad support amongst both Republicans and Democrats.

Gold prices have reached a five-week high although they retreated after touching US$1,300 per ounce. Priced in Australian dollars, the gold price is at an almost six-month high as weakness in the AUD has boosted the gold price.

Crude prices have dropped ahead of the OPEC meeting on Thursday as investors try to gauge whether a production cut will be announced. Both Russia and Saudi Arabia appear to be supportive of a deal but with so many interested parties, it is easy for things to go off plan. Despite the fall in price, oil is still near a two-year high.

Data Releases:

–    US Fed Chair Testifies Before Senate 2:00am AEDT

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This article was written by William O'Loughlin – Investment Analyst, Rivkin Securities Pty Ltd. Enquiries can be made via william.oloughlin@rivkin.com.au or by phoning +612 8302 3633.