China gets downgraded by Moody's, oil keeps rising ahead of the OPEC meeting, and the U.K.'s terror threat level is raised to 'critical.' Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
Moody's Investors Service cut its rating on China's debt to A1 from Aa3, its first reduction for the country since 1989. The agency warned of a "material rise" in economy-wide debt which will place a burden on the state's finances. MSCI Inc. Chief Executive Officer Henry Fernandez earlier warned that China still has a lot of issues to resolve before its onshore stocks can get into the company's emerging markets indexes. The Shanghai Composite Index, which fell as much as 1.3 percent following the downgrade, closed 0.1 percent higher after a late-session rally. Iron ore led a slump in industrial commodities following the announcement.
A barrel of West Texas Intermediate for July delivery was trading at $51.72 as of 5:23 a.m. Eastern Time after data showed U.S. stockpiles declined and ahead of the OPEC meeting which begins tomorrow in Vienna. Consensus seems to be building for a nine-month extension of the current oil-production cut deal, which is due to end next month. Iran is also backing the extension, as the limit imposed is close to the country's current maximum capacity. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said that any impact on crude prices from the potential sale of the U.S. oil reserve would be negligible compared to the effects of OPEC's production cuts.
British Prime Minister Theresa May warned that further terrorist attacks could be imminent as the U.K. threat level was raised from "severe" to "critical" -- the highest level -- for the first time in a decade. The heightened warning means that soldiers are on the streets helping provide security for major landmarks and sporting events. Campaigning for the election on June 8 remains suspended today.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed, while Japan's Topix index climbed 0.6 percent as the yen weakened and the region's stocks shrugged off the China downgrade. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.2 percent higher at 5:50 a.m. as equities in the region awaited the minutes from the Federal Reserve. S&P 500 futures were unchanged.
Minutes hours away
At 2:00 p.m. this afternoon the Fed will release the minutes of its May 2-3 meeting. Investors expect the minutes will likely keep the chances of a June rate hike high. Analysts will also be looking for discussions on how officials might be planning to wind-down the central bank's $4.5 trillion balance sheet. Before the Fed minutes, the Bank of Canada announces its rate decision at 10:00 a.m., with no economist surveyed by Bloomberg expecting any change in rates.
What we've been reading
This is what's caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- Trump's budget is a waste of everybody's time.
- BlueBay goes short on the pound as 'all roads' point to hard Brexit.
- The ECB warns that debt sustainability concerns are rising...
- ...While arguments about the end of ECB stimulus heat up.
- Venezuela calls elections as protests continue.
- Religious ETFs are about to hit the bond market
- Transparent central banks: BOE yogurt edition.