FTSE sets mixed tone ahead of 2016

It appears as though consumers and businesses alike are going to be feeling the pinch in 2016, and despite the rises in crude storage, weakness for the commodity remains likely.

London Stock Exchange
Source: Bloomberg

Gains appear harder to hold on to as we approach the end of 2015, with both European and US indices erasing some of the gains seen yesterday. The release of US crude oil inventories once more confounded expectations, rising by 2.6 million barrels, standing in stark contrast to last week’s six-month low of -5.9 million.

Despite the rise in stored US crude, the trend is clearly towards higher global output. With Iran close to hitting the oil market in a big way and the Saudi oil minister today announcing that there is no upper boundary to their output, it seems 2016 is likely to see supply rise rather than fall.

As we approach 2016, this has afforded time for both reflection of the year gone and anticipation of the 12 months to come. 2015 will no doubt provide memories of crisis and gradual consolidation, particularly within the eurozone project.

The switch away from expansionary monetary policy and towards contractionary action at the Federal Reserve – and soon the Bank of England – shows that both economies have come a long way. However, 2016 will no doubt have to feel the real economic impact of monetary tightening rather than simply the market reaction to the perceived economic outcomes. 2016 will see both the cost of borrowing for both individuals (mortgages) and businesses (loans) rise, which will likely restrict  consumption and economic activity.

Ocado joined the big four supermarkets in the red today, as anxiety surrounding the potential role Amazon could have in the industry dented confidence. With the expansion of the UK Amazon Pantry service and possibility of a future Amazon Fresh service, the entry of one of the world’s best distributors into the industry will no doubt worry the likes of Ocado and the big four.

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