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  1. Oil prices edged down on Friday but continued to hover near three-year highs hit earlier this week, with ongoing OPEC-led supply cuts and solid demand gradually siphoning excess supplies.

    Brent crude oil futures stood at $73.62 per barrel, falling 16 cents or 0.2 percent from their last settlement.

    U.S. WTI crude futures traded down 20 cents or 0.3 percent at $68.09 per barrel.

    Both crude contracts hit their highest levels since November 2014 in the prior session, with Brent at $74.75 and WTI at $69.56 per barrel respectively. WTI is positioned for its second weekly increase, rising over 1 percent this week, while the Brent is also set to increase for a second week, gaining around 1.5 percent.

    According to traders, the Friday's declines were the results of investors lockin in their profits after Thursday's multi-year highs. Oil prices have been lifted by a gradually tightening market.

    OPEC, along with other producers, has been limiting production since 2017 to reduce a global supply glut that had weighed down crude prices between 2014 and 2016.

    U.S. investment bank Jefferies said commercial inventories in the OECD are now basically at their five-year average and drawdowns will possible speed up as refiners restart operations from maintenance before the peak seasonal demand. It added that OECD commercial inventories could retreat back to a level not observed since the oil prices' downward trajectory started in 3Q14. It said that on a day of forward basis, cover could decline below 57 days later this year, a level last seen in 2011.

    The material has been provided by InstaForex Company - www.instaforex.com
  2. A worldwide oil glut is on the verge of disappearing, according to a joint OPEC and non-OPEC technical panel, according to people familiar with the matter, partially attributed to an OPEC-led supply agreement implemented beginning January 2017.

    Earlier on Thursday, the meeting of the Joint Technical Committee discovered that oil stockpiles in developed countries in March came in at 12 million barrels higher than the five-year average, according to one of the sources. The figures are down from 340 million barrels above the average in January 2017.

    The stated target of the production cut is to lower the surplus in oil stocks to that of the five-year median, although oil ministeres have stated that other metrics should also be taken into consideration.

    While OPEC is closing in on the original target of the pact, there is no sign yet that top exporter Saudi Arabia or its allies want to ease on the supply cut.

    Saudi Arabia is aiming to see crude climb to $80 or even $100 per barrel, according to industry sources, an indication that Riyadh will push for changes to the supply-limiting deal despite the original target being within reach.

    In January 2017, OPEC along with Russia and other producers started to reduce supply in an attempt to support oil markets and boost prices. They have prolonged the deal until December 2018 and will convene in June to review policy.

    Following the technical meeting, a ministerial panel of OPEC and non-OPEC producers called the JMMC will convene in Jeddah on Friday. They are expected to talk about the five-year average inventory metric, despite JTC making no recommendations on the issue.

    The material has been provided by InstaForex Company - www.instaforex.com
  3. Gold prices slipped on Friday and were on track for their first weekly drop in three as hopes of higher U.S. interest rates and easing geopolitical tensions pulled down the demand for the precious metal.

    Spot gold fell 0.3 percent to $1,341.33 per ounce. The yellow metal was down 0.2 percent on the week.

    U.S. gold futures lost 0.3 percent at $1,344.50 an ounce.

    Market jitters over Western missile strikes in Syria that provided some support to gold earlier in the week eased, while the geopolitical outlook on the Korean Peninsula brightened as U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he hoped a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would be successful.

    Investors were also relieved that no new U.S. demands on trade came out of a summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump.

    Among other precious metals, spot silver fell 0.1 percent to $17.19, after notching more than a 2-½-month peak at $17.35 in the previous session.

    Platinum dropped 0.2 percent to $930.74. It hit a more than three-week high at $953.50 in the session earlier. Palladium rose 0.6 percent at $1,031.99. It reached a 1-½-month peak of $1,057.20 on Thursday.

    The material has been provided by InstaForex Company - www.instaforex.com
  4. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney hinted on Thursday that financial markets were wrong to assume that an interest rate hike in May should be expected, underlining that there were also “other meetings” this year.

    Speaking to BBC news on the sidelines of the IMF spring meetings in Washington, the leader of the English central bank said that the interest rates were still likely to gradually increase this year, but softer data had given the Monetary Policy Committee a reason to hesitate. He said the committee was now aware that there are other meetings in 2018 when it can consider rates.

    The comment dashed widespread expectations for monetary policy tightening in May. Interest-rate futures markets have estimated the probability of a rate increase next month of up to 90 percent.

    Carney said he does not want to be too focused on the exact timing, but more on the general path of the policy. He added that Britain should prepare for a “few interest rate rises over the next few years.”

    The Sterling pound declined almost a cent against U.S. dollar to its lowest level since April 9 on the back of the comments, in which Carney underlined “mixed” economic data.

    While unemployment declined to a new 45-year low and employment growth was strong, wage growth was weaker than anticipated. After the disappointing data, a steeper-than-expected decline in inflation.

    In the end, Carney said that the result of the Britain's divorce negotiations with the European Union would be the biggest factor in economic decisions in the coming years. He said that the central bank's decision will be adjusted to the impact of those decisions in order to keep the economy on a stable path.

    The material has been provided by InstaForex Company - www.instaforex.com
  5. The volume of retail sales in the UK dropped in March as British shoppers stayed home due to a period of inclement weather nicknamed the 'Beast from the East', weighing on first-quarter economic expansion, official figures showed.

    Retail sales declined 1.2 percent compared to previous month, according to data published by the Office for National Statistics. City economists forecast a 0.6 percent drop.

    Looking at the quarter as whole, sales dropped by 0.5 percent compared with the final three months of 2017 - the biggest fall since the first quarter of 2017. The ONS said this was likely to trim 0.03 percentage points off first-quarter GDP growth, which other analysts forecast at around 0.3 percent.

    The sharp drop in sales was due to a big decline in fuel sales. Petrol sales fell by 7.4 percent compared to February.

    Sterling dropped to a one-week low after the data, which caps a week where wages increased more slowly and inflation fell quicker than expected, raising doubts about how far the Bank of England will raise interest rates this year.

    The BoE is likely to stick to its view that the labor market is prepared for a pick-up in wages, as unemployment is at a 42-year low, leading to stronger consumer demand later this year as inflation continues to fall.

    Britain's economy underperformed its rivals last year as higher inflation - caused by the fall in the pound since June 2016's Brexit vote - hurt the consumers' spending power, though forecasts for a sharp downturn proved too pessimistic.

    The material has been provided by InstaForex Company - www.instaforex.com