With oil facing geo-political risk it just can't seem to break. With the Ukraine/ Russian ceasefire getting ready to end and President Obama arming for "appropriately vetted" Syrian opposition groups not to mention the breakdown of Iraq it is hard to focus on ample supply. Meanwhile comments on the Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo on Opening Bell moved markets.
St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard told Maris that inflation is moving in the right direction toward the central bank's 2% target, perhaps prompting an interest rate hike as early the first quarter of 2015. When that happens, it will require a delicate balancing act by the central bank to keep inflation in check, using rising interest rates to keep prices stable, Bullard said in an exclusive interview with FOX Business Network's Maria Bartiromo on Opening Bell. The economic contraction earlier this year – the government revised first-quarter GDP downward to 2.9% on Wednesday--gave Bullard "heartburn," he said, but was an aberration, one that markets rightly chose to ignore after the data were released.
Bullard said inflation is "turning around" and predicted a spirited debate within the Fed over the timing and trajectory of rate hikes once inflation hits that target threshold. A consensus of Fed forecasts holds that interest rates will likely start moving higher in mid-2015.
Crude oil (NYMEX:CLN14) and gold (COMEX:GCN14) broke on the interview but bounced back later. Dow Jones reports that The Ukrainian government said a cease-fire with pro-Russian fighters would end Friday evening if last-minute talks between the two sides failed to yield any agreement, as heavy fighting raged around several separatists' strongholds in the east of the country. Russian President Vladimir Putin had urged Ukraine to prolong its weeklong cease-fire, but Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who is pushing a peace plan, warned Thursday it "would be very difficult for us" to continue if the militants in eastern Ukraine were unwilling to make any concessions. A spokesman for Mr. Poroshenko insisted the government had always fixed the deadline at 10 p.m. local time (1900 GMT) on Friday, but rebel leaders and other government officials had previously said the truce would end at 10 a.m. local time. Of course the ceasefire has been shaky at best.
All News from Iraq has been spotty. So far Isis has not attacked Bagdad raising hopes that the record oil production and exports from the south will continue. Yet with the weekend ahead of us it is hard to imagine that traders will brace the short side aggressively.
CNN reported that the Obama administration says it will seek $500 million from Congress to help "train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the moderate Syrian armed opposition," funding that, if approved, would deepen U.S. involvement in that country's civil war. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden announced on Thursday that the administration would seek the money that she said would build on "longstanding efforts" by the United States to empower the moderate Syrian opposition.