The release of the strong US non-farm payroll figures today improved market sentiment and prompted a rally to the US dollar index which spiked towards 97.0 against a basket of currencies. The US equity markets edged higher and posted limited gains amid renewed concerns of a sooner than later increase of the US interest rates following the robust US employment data. The Dow Jones index hovered around 17,900 while the S&P 500 and NASDAQ indices rose marginally by 0.15%, at the time of writing.
In Europe, ongoing concerns regarding Greece’s debt issues continue to dominate trading sentiment in European equity markets. Greece became the first country to defer payment to the IMF since the 80’s as talks between the Greek government and its creditors failed to reach an agreement this week. Greece has refused to make the 300m euros payment to the IMF due today. The CAC, DAX, IBEX and London equity benchmark indices retreated sharply between 0.4% and 0.9%, while the Athens Stock Exchange plunged to nearly 1-month low.
The current economic conditions in Greece have deteriorated during the last weeks and we expect high volatility and nervous trading until the end of June, with the next deadline for a repayment to the IMF. The Greek government reported that it will make use of a rarely-used provision to roll all its June payments together and pay them back at the end of the month. The euro came under further pressure and retreated sharply towards 1.11 against the USD today.
Crude oil prices have fluctuated strongly in today’s session. There were no surprises from the OPEC meeting as the organization left its output target unchanged today, as widely expected. In addition, there were renewed talks amid OPEC oil members of a “fair price” for crude oil around $75-$80 per barrel. WTI front month futures tested a low at $56.83 and reached a high at $58.66 to hover around $58/per barrel in the afternoon session.