Japan: Preliminary statistics indicated that industrial production in Japan fell by 0.9% month over month in November 2023, marking the first dip since August. This was in contrast to a final 1.3% gain in the previous month, but it was less than market predictions of a 1.6% reduction.
Retail sales in Japan rose 5.3% year-on-year in November 2023, accelerating for the first time in three months following a downwardly revised 4.1% gain in October and exceeding market forecasts for a 5% growth. It was also the 21st consecutive month of expansion in retail sales as consumption continued to recover from the pandemic-induced slump.
Oil: Following the announcement by major shipping companies that they were going back to the Red Sea route in response to the creation of a US-led maritime task force tasked with safeguarding commercial vessels in the region, WTI prices fell by almost 2% on Wednesday. According to industry statistics, US oil stocks increased by 1.84 million barrels last week, which was the largest weekly increase in the previous five weeks.
The dollar index remained below 101. Markets now estimate a nearly 90% possibility of a rate decrease by the Fed in March and a total rate reduction of up to 158 basis points the following year. In anticipation of more guidance today, traders are awaiting unemployment claims and pending home sales data. For the first time since 2020, the dollar index is expected to fall by roughly 2.6% this year.
On the market, the US stock markets are still at record highs. SP500 futures close to 4800 points, Nasdaq futures close to 17 000 points. On the other hand, European stock markets have retreated from the highs reached in the second week of December. The DAX40 index is trading above 16 800 points.
The EURUSD is already at 1.11, confirming the dollar’s weakness. Correspondingly, gold remains strong above 2050 an ounce. Bitcoin continues to show strength and solidity above 43 000 dollars.