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The Monetary Policy Clues to Look for at Jackson Hole

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Draghi and Yellen at Jackson Hole, hurricane Harvey to hit Texas, and German economy remains robust ahead of election. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.

Thriller?

While Mario Draghi’s speech later today at the Jackson Hole conference in Wyoming will be closely watched for any policy signals, it’s unlikely that history will be repeated with another major intervention from the ECB President. Even though the conference has developed a reputation for being dangerous for markets, the global economy is not in bad enough condition to merit a major intervention. So, expect nothing too off the wall in speeches from Fed Chair Janet Yellen at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time today, and Mario Draghi at 3:00 p.m. In case you find the going tough, you can play Jackson Hole Jargon Bingo to help remain focused. 

Storms’ a comin

Hurricane Harvey is forecast to be the worst storm to hit the Texas coast in more than a decade when it makes landfall in the next 24 hours. The slow speed of the storm means it has the potential to drop feet of rain on land close to the coast over the coming days. Gasoline futures surged to the highest level in four months as refineries are shut, while a barrel West Texas Intermediate was trading at $47.77 by 5:25 a.m. as crude production was not expected to be much affected.

German growth

The final revision of Germany’s second-quarter growth figures confirmed the economy expanded 0.6 percent in the period, with household consumption the biggest contributor to putting the country on track for its strongest annual expansion since 2011. The Ifo Institute’s gauge of business sentiment dropped slightly from July’s record 116.0 to 115.9 for August. With less than a month to go before national elections, Angela Merkel’s lead in the polls is starting to look unassailable as attention turns to who will be in her next administration. 

Markets waiting

Global equity markets continue their holding pattern ahead of today’s Jackson Hole speeches. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.2 percent, while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.3 percent higher. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index had added 0.2 percent by 5:40 a.m., with S&P 500 futures slipping 0.1 percent. 10-year Treasury yields were unchanged at 2.196 percent and gold was also unchanged at $1,287 an ounce. 

Coming up…

While all eyes will be on Wyoming, there is some eco data due today. Durable goods orders are scheduled for 8:30 a.m. and are expected to grow 0.4 percent ex-transportation. At 1:00 p.m. the Baker Hughes rigcount is published, which, after dropping by 5 last week to 763, will be closely watched for signs that U.S. oil production may be slowing.

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