Thursday, 16 January 2020


Lukman Otunuga,
Senior Research Analyst at FXTM

The mood across financial markets continues to brighten on Tuesday amid signs of goodwill between the United States and China ahead of the “phase one” trade deal.

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Reports of the U.S Treasury Department dropping the designation of China as a currency manipulator is a move seen easing tensions as both sides move one step closer to finding a middle ground on trade. This encouraging news has certainly injected global equity bulls with confidence as shares in Asia rallied on Tuesday morning. The positive sentiment was also reflected on Wall Street which logged record highs overnight, driven by sharp rises in tech stocks.  While hopes of a “phase one” trade deal should continue supporting risk sentiment, investors could still be left empty handed if the finer details of the deal disappoint expectations.

In other news, corporate earning season kicks off with some of the biggest U.S banks. J.P. Morgan, Wells Fargo and Citigroup will be under the spotlight as they report quarterly earnings before the bell. US stocks could extend gains if earnings from these major banks meet or exceed market expectations.

 Dollar on standby ahead of US inflation
It could be an eventful trading week for the Dollar with the latest inflation figures on Tuesday and retail sales report on Thursday offering insight into the health of the US economy. The annual Inflation rate during the last month of 2019 is expected to remain broadly in line with the Fed’s golden 2% target, reinforcing speculation around the Federal Reserve taking a pause on rates.
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The Dollar’s valuation is likely to remain influenced by trade developments and global sentiment this week. Should risk-on remain the name of the game this week, appetite towards the Dollar is set to fade as investors turn to riskier assets. Focusing on the technical picture, the Dollar Index may slip towards 97.00 should 97.50 prove to be a stubborn resistance level.

Oil shaky as supply disruption fears recede
Oil prices weakened towards $58 on Tuesday morning, extending four straight days of decline as geopolitical tensions eased and concerns over possible supply disruptions faded.

However, the commodity could rebound this week if the “phase one” US-China trade deal boosts market sentiment and revives optimism over the global economy. This outcome will be good news for emerging market crude producers like Nigeria, especially when considering how oil still accounts for roughly 90% of export earnings and over 70% of government revenues.

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All eyes will be on Nigeria’s latest inflation figures scheduled for release on Wednesday, Jan 15. If inflation jumps to the forecasted 12.10% in December 2019, the Central Bank of Nigeria will be one step further to cutting interest rates during the first half of 2020. With a rate cut out of the picture in the meantime, much focus will remain on the loan to deposit ratio which is currently at 65%.

Gold hammered by risk-on sentiment
Gold prices stumbled to their lowest level in nearly two weeks on Tuesday as trade hopes boosted risk sentiment and blunted appetite for safe-haven assets. The precious metal is trading around $1539 as of writing and could extend losses when the United States and China formally sign the “phase one” trade deal. However, the precious metal may rebound if the finer details of the deal underwhelm markets.

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Technical traders will continue to closely observe how price behave around the $1555 level. A daily close below this point should signal a decline towards $1535. However, a move above $1555 may open the doors towards $1570.

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