Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
It’s another jittery day in the markets, as geopolitical tensions and trade war anxiety give investors plenty to think about.
Oil is the big mover this morning – Brent crude has romped to $66.25 per barrel for the first time in almost a month.
This follows a report from the American Petroleum Institute showing that US crude stockpiles fell by 7.55 million barrels last week. That bigger-than-expected decline may indicate higher demand than expected.
But tensions in the Middle East are also driving oil up. Relations between Washington and Tehran deteriorated further yesterday as Donald Trump threatened to obliterate parts of Iran, after president Rouhani suggested the US leader was “afflicted by a mental disorder”.
This sort of “jaw-jaw” antics only increase worries of military action, disrupting supplies. No wonder oil is up 10% since two tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman two weeks ago.
Investors are also getting nervous about this week’s G20 meeting of world leaders, which kicks off on Friday. Trump is due to meet China’s Xi Jinping on Saturday, for a crucial meeting on trade.
American officials say their aim is to restart negotiations, suggesting the two sides could agree not to impose more tariffs while talks are underway. Bloomberg is reporting that the U.S. could suspend the next round of tariffs on an additional $300bn of Chinese imports.
But nothing’s guaranteed.
And in such turbulent times, some traders are turning to cryptocurrencies for protection.
Bitcoin has continued its recent strong rally, hurtling through the $12,000 mark for the first time in 15 months today. It’s currently up 8.4%, or $986, at $12,737. And with Facebook’s new Libra currency getting plenty of attention, some analysts are predicting that digital coins will keep climbing.
Also coming up today
Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, is being quizzed by MPs on the Treasury committee. Officially it’s about the Bank’s last quarterly inflation report, but Brexit and trade rules may also come up too (especially as Carney shot down Boris Johnson’s Brexit idea last week).
Plus, new US durable goods and trade data will show if America’s economy is suffering from the trade dispute with China.
- 10.15am BST: Treasury committee hearing with the Bank of England
- 1.30pm BST: US durable goods orders for May
- 1.30pm BST: US trade goods for May