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    OPEC in focus with ECB in sight

    The world’s most powerful oil producing group is meeting in Vienna on Thursday but mounting tensions between the 13 members of the producer group – and the differing economic needs of each country – are expected to stymy any deal on output which could support oil prices.

    OPEC is not expected to cut or freeze oil production levels at the meeting – ideas that failed to find unanimous support at its last meeting in Doha in April. The official press conference is expectet at 15:00 GMT, but it’s likely that we will hear some rumours earlier. The oil ignored API report that showed an increase in inventories.

    The European Central Bank is not expected to change monetary policy when it releases its statement on Thursday. The market will be following ECB President Mario Draghi speech for details about the implementation of corporate bond purchases that are scheduled to kick off in June with the ECB forecasts the most likely pieces to change. March’s forecasts were put together using the horrible beginning of the year data, which has improved and before the quantitative easing additional stimulus announced in the same time the forecasts were published. 

    Australian retail sales missed expectations in April, rising 0.2% after seasonal adjustments, according to the ABS. Markets had been expecting an increase of 0.3%, following a 0.4% gain in March. Despite the underwhelming headline figure, at $24.981 billion, the monthly total was the largest on record. Compared to a year earlier, the value of sales increased by 3.6%, unchanged from the pace recorded in March.

    Japan’s Nikkei tumbled after the government moved to delay a sales-tax hike for more than two years, bucking mostly higher markets around the region. The Nikkei 225 closed 2.32 percent, extending Wednesday’s losses of 1.62 percent.  The Japanese yen strengthened against the dollar, trading at 109.1, compared with levels above 111 yen on Tuesday after Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a delay of the consumption tax hike until 2019 because of growing softness in the economy. 

     

    Any person acting on this information does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it.


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