In the petroleum markets it was better than expected demand for products due in part to weather but also a surprising increase in gasoline demand that kept the market from falling apart after a much larger than expected increase in crude supply.
U.S. stocks fell, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index headed for a one-month low, while Treasuries and the yen gained as the Federal Reserve said it would make further reductions in economic stimulus and as emerging-market currencies weakened. Gold and natural gas climbed.
With South Africa and Turkey raising rates to support their currencies, as well as a possible second taper announcement occurring today from the U.S. FOMC, stock markets could be retreating because of these interest rate moves.
By December, the most recent month for which statistics are available, the U.S. dollar Fiat Money Quantity (FMQ) had grown to $12.48 trillion. This is $5.05 trillion more than if it had grown in line with the established average monthly growth rate from 1960 to the month before the Lehman Crisis.
Ben Bernanke recently said the Fed is not overly concerned at the moment that there are bubbles forming in the financial system, although he stressed the Fed is “watching vigilantly” for such risks. Based on the Fed’s track record, there would be no bubbles if they had that foresight.