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US dollar weakens after dovish FOMC meeting minutes

US stocks retreated on Wednesday as energy shares were hit after West Texas Intermediate futures plunged to a six and half year low. The dollar pared the gains of the previous three days after the release of minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s July 28-29 meeting, the ICE US Dollar Index fell 0.6%. Policy makers stated they would need to see more evidence that economic growth was sufficiently strong and labor market conditions had firmed enough for them to feel reasonably confident that inflation would return to the longer-run 2% objective over the medium term. They noted though that conditions were approaching that point. Inflation has been subdued with the fall in energy prices weighing on the headline index, and a report on Wednesday showed the consumer price index rose just a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in July. Markets interpreted the minutes as dovish, with Fed funds futures traders pricing in a 38% probability of a September rate hike, down from 50% earlier Wednesday. Nevertheless the S&P 500 fell 0.8%, with eight of its ten main sectors finishing in negative territory. Today at 13:30 CET initial jobless claims and unemployment claims will be released. The tentative outlook is positive. At 15:30 July existing home sales, leading indicators and August Philadelphia Fed survey results will be released. The tentative outlook is negative. At 15:30 CET natural gas storage change will be published.

European stocks extended losses on Wednesday as market sentiment was undermined with concerns over China. The euro rose against the dollar. The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 1% , Germany’s DAX 30 lost 1.4%, France’s CAC 40 was down 0.9%. Mining shares were hit the hardest due to commodity slump as China’s growth slowed down and China’s devaluation of yuan spurred concerns about the state of its economy and prospects of exports to the second largest world economy. The approval by German lawmakers of the third bailout agreement for Greece pushed Athex Composite 0.8% higher, but didn’t help much to lift broader European indexes. Miner and commodities heavyweight Glencore PLC tumbled 9% after it reported a first half-year net loss of $676 million, below analyst expectations for a net profit of $728 million. Rio Tinto PLC lost 2.5%, Anglo American PLC was down 2.8%, Swedish mining and smelting company Boliden AB slumped 3.6%. Today Greece made a 3.2 billion euro ($3.56 billion) payment to the European Central Bank using the funds from newly approved bailout package. No important economic data are expected today in euro-zone.

Nikkei fell 0.9% today to a near six-week low as yen weakened on concerns of slowdown in Chinese demand. Shares of SoftBank Group Corp gained 2.2% after its president announced he will buy $483 million worth of the company's shares over the next six months.

Oil prices are extending losses today after falling sharply on Wednesday following a surprise 2.6 million-barrel increase in US crude oil inventory and data showing Saudi Arabian oil exports rose by 430 thousand barrels a day to 7.37 million barrels a day.

Gold futures are rising today on the back of dovish minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s latest meeting, which weakened the dollar as investors gauged the risk of September rate hike decreased in the light of low inflationary expectations being further reinforced by yuan’s recent devaluation.

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