Oil prices roses on data showing a smaller-than-expected increase in U.S. crude inventories supply disruptions in Libya and views that an OPEC-led output reduction is likely to be extended.
According to the Energy Information Administration, U.S. crude stocks rose last week, but refineries hiked output, causing gasoline stocks and distillate inventories to decline.
Gasoline stocks fell by 3.7 million barrels, versus projections in a Reuters poll for a 1.9 million barrels drop.
Crude inventories rose by 867,000 barrels last week, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 1.4 million barrels.
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 2.5 million barrels, correlated with expectations for a 1.2 million barrels drop.
The Bank of England will test the risks associated with sterling dropping by a further 32 percent from today's level to undervalue at a low of 85 cents by year-end.
This scenario will form part of the stress tests the central bank is set to run this year. After a brief period of upside consolidation seen, The GBP/USD currency pair moves closer towards 1.2600, the highest levels since Feb 2.
The Brexit and high household indebtedness are some of the main risks to UK's financial stability, the Financial Policy Committee of the Bank of England said on Monday.
Gold rose to a three-week high as the dollar fell to near six-week lows and bond yields sank on uncertainty. Most of the investors became less bearish as a result of the subdued outlook for rates in 2018.
The lack of a concrete policy from the Trump administration is increasing gold's attraction as a safe-haven investment. The commodity was also supported by a further drop in U.S. Treasury yields, with the 10-year benchmark yield dipping below 2.4 percent for the first time since March 1.
Consumer prices rose by a stronger-than-expected 2.3 percent, the biggest annual increase. February's rise represented the first time in more than three years that inflation topped the BoE's target. The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, said it was important not to overreact to a single month's data. This is a consequence of the increase in global oil prices and the impact of the Brexit vote on sterling. The BoE has said it expects inflation will peak at 2.8 percent in the second quarter of next year. Most economists say it is likely to hit 3 percent. The BoE underestimated the extent of inflation's rise after the global financial crisis which also caused a sharp fall in sterling.
Gold hit a one-week high on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled a cautious stance on interest rate policy this year. The dollar was pushed to its lowest in a month.The Fed has raised interest rates for the second time in three months and there are no signs of inflation.
In a very recent research note, analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch highlighted its recent dip but said there were reasons for optimism. "While tighter monetary policy is not bullish, inflation and a range of uncertainties, including European elections and protectionism should support the yellow metal. As such, we see prices at $1,400 (per troy ounce) by year-end".
The U.K. jobless rate matched its lowest since 1975 in the three months through January. Unemployment unexpectedly declined to 4.7 percent, matching the rate it last reached in 2005, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The number of people in work rose by 92,000 to 31.9 million. This is the biggest increase since last summer. The U.K. economy has defied predictions of doom since the Brexit vote, expanding at a robust 0.7 percent at the end of 2016. Bank of England officials meeting this week are expected to keep the benchmark rate at a record-low 0.25 percent.
Oil prices declined after Saudi Arabia told OPEC it raised production back above 10 million barrels a day in February. Brent futures were down $1.05, or 2 percent, at $50.30 a barrel by 11:13 a.m. ET (1513 GMT), near their lowest since November 30. U.S. crude slid $1.25, or 2.6 percent, to $47.15 a barrel. Saudi Arabia had curbed supplies more than it needed in January as part of a deal to help re-balance world markets and reduce a global glut.
The kingdom told OPEC it boosted production by 263,300 barrels a day last month. At 10.011 million barrels a day, Saudi production is still below the ceiling of 10.058 million a day imposed by the agreement, according to the OPEC report.
The precious metal dropped to the lowest level in five weeks on Thursday. Gold’s latest leg down followed the release of better-than-expected U.S. private jobs data midweek. The precious metal has been thrown onto the defensive after Federal Reserve officials talked up the chances of tightening, boosting the odds of an imminent hike.
Investors' on Thursday would remain focus on the monetary policy meeting, which might trigger some volatility in the markets. “Three weeks ago the possibility of a rate hike in March was very small, but now it’s 100 percent,” said Bob Takai, chief executive officer of Sumitomo Corp. Buyers would continue to maintain cautious stance ahead of Friday's key data and the meeting next week.
European shares gained today, with results driving specific stock moves, while basic resources were the top sector performers. Donald Trump pledged $1 trillion of infrastructure spending in his first speech to Congress. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.7 percent, with Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 outperforming peers, gaining 1 percent.
U.S. President Donald Trump wanted to boost the U.S. economy with tax relief, an overhaul of the Affordable Care Act and an infrastructure push. In Europe, the construction firm CRH was at the top of the benchmark in mid-morning trade, up by more than 4 percent, after announcing its 2016 results. That place had been taken earlier by the French manufacturer Moncler.
New Zealand’s central bank chief warned of a possible inflation shock in the U.S. and much higher interest rates should Donald Trump roll out a program of protectionist policies.
According to Graeme Wheeler, governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the recent comments from the Trump administration calling for higher tariffs on imports from China and Mexico would only increase prices in the U.S. Also, the U.S. Federal Reserve would be forced to clamp down through tighter policy.
Wheeler added that inflation is expected to return to the midpoint of the central bank's 1-3 percent target band "gradually."
Earlier, New Zealand's central bank held its benchmark interest rates at a record low of 1.75 percent and said monetary policy would remain accommodative "for a considerable period". "Numerous uncertainties remain, particularly in respect of the international outlook, and policy may need to adjust accordingly,"RBNZ Governor Graeme Wheeler said in a statement.