Oil plunge below $45 for first time since OPEC’s production cut deal

The oil market’s May meltdown is getting worse. U.S. crude prices plunged more than 3% in a matter of minutes on Friday morning in Asia, taking the price of a barrel below $45 for the first time since a landmark OPEC deal in November to slash production. The OPEC agreement, the cartel’s first cut since 2008, was supposed to prop up oil prices and end the epic glut that has roiled the industry. But after getting an initial lift from the deal, prices slipped into a downward spiral in mid-April that intensified this week…

U.S. created only 98,000 jobs in March but unemployment rate dropped to 4.5%

The economy added only 98,000 jobs in March, well below expectations, though the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest rate since May 2007, before the recession started. The jobless rate last month fell from 4.7 percent to 4.5 percent because 472,000 more Americans found jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday…

U.S. jobless claims dropped 25,000 for week ended April 1, biggest drop in almost two years

New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits recorded their biggest drop in nearly two years last week, pointing to a further tightening in the labor market. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 for the week ended April 1, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The drop was the largest since the week ending April 25, 2015…

U.S. jobless claims slip less than expected for week ending March 25

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell less than expected last week, suggesting some loss of momentum in a labor market that continues to tighten. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 258,000 for the week ended March 25, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week’s data was unrevised…

EU’s economic recovery gained steam during the first quarter of 2017

The eurozone’s economy may have picked up during the first three months of 2017, according to surveys of purchasing managers released Friday, raising expectations that the European Central Bank will consider a moderation of its stimulus measures over the coming year. Data firm IHS Markit said its composite Purchasing Managers Index for the eurozone’s manufacturers and service providers, which is based on a survey of 5,000 companies, rose to 56.7 in March…

U.S. new home sales rise 6.1%, hits 7-month high in February; labor market tightening

New U.S. single-family home sales jumped to a seven-month high in February, suggesting the housing market recovery continued to gain momentum despite the challenges of high prices and tight inventories. Other data on Thursday showed an unexpected increase in the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week. Still, the labor market continues to tighten, which together with the strength in housing, should underpin economic growth…

U.S. jobless claims falls, still consistent with a healthy U.S. labor market

WASHINGTON—The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week and continued to hover at a low level consistent with a healthy U.S. labor market. Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S. economy, declined by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 241,000 in the week ended March 11, the Labor Department said Thursday. The decrease matched economists’ expectations, and claims for the prior week were left unrevised at 243,000…

Is this the beginning of a showdown between OPEC and U.S. shale?

Is this the start of OPEC vs. American shale, round two? A new report from OPEC shows the group slashed production further in February as its members largely fulfilled promises to reduce output. Meanwhile, higher prices are luring American shale producers back into the market. OPEC production dropped by 139,500 barrels during the month, according to the group’s monthly report…

Fed may hit the accelerator on rate hikes

The Federal Reserve, which has struggled to stoke inflation since the financial crisis and up until now raised rates less frequently than it and markets expected, may be about to hit the accelerator on rate hikes. On Wednesday, the U.S. central bank is almost universally expected to raise its benchmark interest rates, a move that just a few weeks ago was viewed by the markets as unlikely…

A Perfect storm on track to force oil to plunge below $50 a barrel

A perfect storm is on track to force oil below $50 a barrel, driving a sudden drop in the stock market on Wednesday. A lack of cohesion among OPEC members, oil ministers predicting a fall in prices at a conference last week, the sudden growth of U.S. crude oil stockpiles and production and seasonal maintenance on United States oil refineries that will limit activity have all contributed to the sudden drop, experts say…

Oil plunges below $50 threshold for first time since mid-December

Here we go again: Crude oil is once again in selloff mode with prices sinking below the closely-watched $50 threshold. Oil has plunged 7% in the last two days, taking its first sub-$50 trip since mid-December. This breaks a period of relative stability in the oil patch since November, when OPEC reached a deal to cut production.
But the enthusiasm for the OPEC deal is fading due to rising concerns about the picture at home…

U.S. consumer spending cools in Januray but inflation hits 4-year high

U.S. consumer spending rose less than expected in January as the largest monthly increase in inflation in four years eroded households’ purchasing power, pointing to moderate economic growth in the first quarter. The surge in inflation raises the possibility of an interest rate increase from the Federal Reserve this month. While still below the U.S. central bank’s 2 percent target, inflation is now in the upper end of the range that Fed officials in December felt would be reached this year…

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