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    Mid-European Session – Oil tumbles below $30, pound falls on UK inflation data

    There were some notable movements in the currency and oil markets this morning as economic data and news releases impacted prices.

    Oil prices fell back down, dropping below $30 a barrel on news that major oil producing countries reached a deal to freeze output. A meeting of oil ministers from Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Qatar early today in Doha concluded with a conditional agreement to freeze production at January levels. Investors were disappointed as they expected more out of the meeting, such as production cuts, and so oil was sold. Prices on US oil futures touched as low as $29.54 after hitting as high as $31.46 earlier this morning.

    The UK published inflation data today. While the headline annual figure showed inflation edged higher in January, the monthly and core numbers disappointed. CPI rose 0.3% on a yearly basis but fell 0.8% month-on month, more than forecast. Core CPI dropped 1.0% month-on-month and fell to 1.2% on a year-on-year basis. The mixed data resulted in the pound dipping against the dollar to $1.4462 immediately after the release. Prices then headed another leg lower to a session low of $1.4443 before steadying. Earlier in the session sterling hit a high of $1.4515 after rising from the European session open of $1.4409.

    Data out of Europe showed that German economic sentiment fell in February. The ZEW index came in at 52.3, missing expectations for a reading of 55 and was below January’s reading of 59.7. Concerns over the health of the global economy weighed on investor sentiment in Europe’s largest economy. Despite the data, the euro traded near the session highs against the dollar above $1.1180.

    Focus now turns to US session data on the Empire State manufacturing index and the NAHB Housing Market Index

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