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Markets Wait For Uncertainty To Resolve…Inflation Edges Higher In Feb

Shell’s experimental in-situ oil shale facility, Piceance Basin, Colorado

Markets continue their wild gyrations today as at print the S&P is down over 2%. As we have said many times before on these pages, markets hate uncertainty and right now there are planes loads of uncertainty. We expect to hear more from the Trump administration shortly on plans for economic stimulus and help for small businesses negatively impacted by the epidemic. This development will help clear up a lot of the noise.

Although oil markets rebounded slightly from their lows yesterday, today’s news out of Saudi Arabia that production will not be cut, but even raised, sent crude down once again. One point that is not being discussed much in the business media is that American shale producers, although many will be impacted and the weak players could be forced out at these price levels, do not have huge expenses to simply shut their wells temporarily, compared to a full rig shutting down in the Gulf for instance. To that point, many shale producers will simply put a lid on their production and wait for better times with the ability to restart again cheaply. It is the heavily indebted players that will be forced out of business as the delay in cash flow could be insurmountable.

Inflation burned a little hotter in Feb with Core CPI coming in slight more than expected.

Consumer Price Index (MoM) (Feb) printed at 0.1% vs a consensus estimate of 0.0%.

Consumer Price Index ex Food & Energy (MoM) (Feb) printed at the estimate of 0.2%.

Consumer Price Index (YoY) (Feb) printed at 2.3% vs estimate of 2.2%.

Consumer Price Index ex Food & Energy (YoY) (Feb) printed at 2.4% vs 2.3% estimate. The increase was mostly driven by services.

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