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Uncertainty and Confusion: Parsing the FOMC Minutes

The oil rally gains momentum, stocks creep higher, and the OECD cuts its outlook for growth. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.

Oil rises

Oil is extending gains this morning with West Texas Intermediate for March delivery at $31.63 a barrel, 97 cents higher, at 11:04 a.m. London time. The rise adds to yesterday's 5.6 percent rally following a surprising decline in U.S. inventories. John Brynjolfsson, founder of money manager Armored Wolf is warning that the rally is a "big head fake" that probably won't preclude a drop to $15 a barrel.


There is a mixed picture this morning in global stocks with Japan's Topix index closing 2.3 percent higher while China's Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.2 percent. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was trading 0.5 percent higher at 11:17 a.m. London time, having been down as much as 0.6 percent earlier. S&P 500 futures have added 0.2 percent. Today's market moves may be part of a wider trend of global asset price correlations breaking down.

OECD cuts growth forecast

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in a report published this morning that global gross domestic product will expand by 3.0 percent in 2016, down from their previous forecast for 3.3 percent growth. The organization warned the some emerging markets are particularly vulnerable to sharp exchange-rate movements—the day after Mexico's government launched a strong defense of the peso.

ECB minutes

The day after the Federal Reserve published the minutes of its January meeting we're going to get "an account" of the European Central Bank's first monetary policy meeting of 2016. Following ECB President Mario Draghi's heightening of expectations for more easing at the March meeting, investors will read the account closely for any hint of the form that easing might take.

PBOC increased liquidity operations 

The Chinese central bank has said it will start conducting open-market operations every day, extending a policy that was introduced in the run-up to the Lunar New Year holiday. The move comes as the bank is seen to be allowing the market more sway in the yuan exchange rate, with the PBOC following dollar moves in recent days, rather than surprising markets with unexpected fixings.

What we've been reading 

This is what's caught our eye over the last 24 hours.

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