Oil Settles Sharply Higher
Oil prices moved higher on Friday, with WTI crude rising 2.4% to $65.37 a barrel and Brent settling 2.5% higher at $68.71 a barrel on the back of a weaker dollar and prevalent risk appetite. Both benchmarks rebounded from an over 3% plunge in the previous to end the week on a high note as fears of gasoline shortages due to an outage at the largest US fuel pipeline and falling US inventories gave some optimism to oil bulls. On the supply side, OPEC+ started this month a gradual easing of its oil production curbs, pumping an extra 350,000 barrels a day, saying that demand will grow by 5.95 million barrels per day in 2021, helped by the swift rollout of coronavirus vaccinations worldwide. Also, the EIA predicted oil demand will outstrip supply as economies emerge from the pandemic.
TSX Notches Best Day Since April
Canada’s main stock index ended above the 19,300 level on Friday, notching its biggest daily percentage gain since April 1, as heavyweight energy and mining stocks found support in robust commodities prices. On the economic front, manufacturing sales rose to the highest level since June 2019, while wholesale sales in Q1 were the highest in a single quarter on record. SNC-Lavalin Group Inc rose more than 15%, the most on the TSX, following better-than-expected earnings results. Still, the index ended the week on a sour note amid concerns that a pick-up in inflation would force central banks to tighten monetary policy sooner than expected.
US Stocks Rise, but Decline for the Week
All three main indexes in New York rallied at least 1% on Friday, as dovish remarks from several Fed officials soothed concerns that rising inflation will prompt the US central bank to tighten policy sooner than expected. Fed policymakers have said that any increase in price pressures will be transitory and expected to wane as supply chains adjust to rising demand. The shift in sentiment was accompanied by a disappointing retail sales report, which helped curbed some long-term fears of inflation. In the first half of the week, however, trading floors were awash with red after a higher-than-expected reading on US inflation fuelled bets of potential tapering of the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying before year’s end. As a result, the blue-chip Dow ended this week down 1%, while the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq slumped 1.4% and 2.3%, respectively.
Croatia Inflation Rate at Near 3-Year High
Consumer prices in Croatia increased 2.1 percent year-on-year in April 2021, following a 1.2 percent rise in the previous month. It was the highest inflation rate since September of 2018, mainly driven by prices of transport (10.7 percent vs 5.8 percent in March), housing & utilities (1.4 percent vs 0 percent) and alcoholic beverages & tobacco (6 percent vs 10.3 percent). On the other hand, prices fell for food & non-alcoholic beverages (-0.6 percent vs -1 percent) and clothing & footwear (-0.1 percent vs -2 percent). On a monthly basis, prices rose 0.7 percent, after a 1.1 percent gain in March of 2021.