Oil prices to scupper Fed rate move?

All eyes turn to the FOMC today, which promises to provide markets with a better idea of exactly when the Federal Reserve will raise rates. However, it is just as likely that we will be disappointed, as the Fed has proven as adept at hiding its real views as providing them. 

Federal Reserve
Source: Bloomberg

With inflation expected to fall further thanks to the recent deterioration in oil prices, a September hike seems unlikely. The current disinflationary environment and Janet Yellen's latest focus on consumer behaviour adds to the impression that September will not see any change in policy, given the drop in retail sales and consumer confidence this month.

European equities have made tentative gains today following the shock collapse of markets last week. The Greek affair clearly has had a profound impact upon sentiment and despite much of the Grexit risk being mitigated, the technical chartists among us will notice that there has been a lot of bearish price patterns that simply cannot be undone.

The Greek crisis may not be as far away as thought, with Alexis Tsipras revealing that Syriza's hardliners could force an early election to gain a parliamentary majority. The €86 billion bailout will be unlikely to emerge prior to the 20 August deadline, as creditors will require a relatively stable country which has the right structure in place to implement the controversial austerity measures.

Twitter's rollercoaster continues, with a rise in earnings leading to an 11% gain, only to be erased as investors realise that without a clear succession plan for the CEO, coupled with slowing user growth, the firm will continue to languish despite its enviable user base.

Crude oil prices spiked higher following the latest US inventories figure, which posted a weekly fall of 4.2 million barrels. The gradual drawdown of historically high stockpiles means that despite a steady move towards something like normality, the supply and demand picture remains out of kilter, a fact reflected in the six-month low seen in Brent yesterday.

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