Markets start the week with the price of crude oil breaking to a new 8-year high as official Chinese economic growth beats expectations.
- The price of crude oil continues its strong advance, with WTI having risen by more than one third in barely six weeks. The price has just exceeded its 8-year high made a few weeks ago at $85.39. Traders should watch carefully what happens next: there may be scope to trade a bullish breakout long by the end of today.
- In its monthly policy release, the Bank of Japan left everything unchanged including its negative interest rate of -0.1%, but raised its inflation forecast slightly for the first time since 2014, from 0.9% to 1.1%. The yen fell slightly on the news, but analysts see Japan’s massive stimulus package in no real danger from policymakers. The rise in inflation is narrow, mostly due to fuel and cooking items.
- US 10-year and 2-year Treasury yields have hit new highs for the month, knocking global stock markets which have mostly fallen during today’s Asian session.
- In the Forex market, the Canadian dollar is the strongest major currency, boosted by the rise in crude oil. The Japanese yen is the weakest. The US dollar is continuing its rise for the third consecutive day.
- Daily new coronavirus cases soared to a new global record Thursday, with more than 3.3 million new cases recorded for the first time. Nearly one quarter of these confirmed new cases are in the USA. The World Health Organization believes 50% of Europeans will become infected over the coming weeks.
- Data suggests that the globally rampant omicron coronavirus variant, while considerably more infectious, has notably milder effects than previous coronavirus strains, with an estimated 70% reduction in the probability of hospitalization. This is potentially very good news for both health and economy. Pfizer have announced they plan to have an omicron-specific vaccine ready in March.
- It is estimated that 59.9% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccination.
- Total confirmed new coronavirus cases worldwide stand at over 331.6 million with an average case fatality rate of 1.68%.
- The rate of new coronavirus infections appears to now be increasing most quickly in Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, India, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, the UAE, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Uzbekistan.