Oil prices have tumbled more than 1% on an OPEC agreement that will not commit beyond a nine-month production cut. Though oil at $50.88 has come back from its January 2016 low (around $28 a barrel) it has yet to see a price resurgence beyond $58.
In the US shares opened earlier at record levels after the disclosure that the US Fed expects the economy to gain speed. Interest rates, US policy makers indicated, may climb higher sooner rather than later. Bourses in Europe also picked up though the response was less emphatic.
At 4pm the euro was close to 1.1210 against the dollar while sterling was at 1.2938 though the pound seemed to ignore weaker lower UK growth figures earlier from the ONS – for a while, at least.
The ONS said a 0.2% quarter-on-quarter GDP growth rate compared to a previous 0.3% estimate was partly down to the impact of rising prices, particularly in retail and general household spend.
- UK FTSE 100 7,517.71 +0.04%
- Dow 21,091.18 +0.37%
- S&P 500 2,415.20 +0.45%
- Nasdaq 6,200.10 +0.60%
- DAX 12,645.80 +0.02%
- CAC 40 5,346.69 +0.10%
- Gold 1,258.90 +0.10%
- Oil WTI 50.74 -1.25%
The pound’s loss in value continues to dent consumer confidence but the latest GDP figures also means Britain’s lead as one of the faster growing G7 countries gets a decisive push back. Consumer spending is looking very weak.
Mortgage lending flat – except Wales
New data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) does little to perk things up. UK mortgage levels have slipped to £18.4bn in April, down 11% on March though there is some seasonality buried in the figures.