ECB’s Mario Draghi and Federal Reserve’s Janet Yellen set to give keynote speeches

Oil prices are climbing as Hurricane Harvey, potentially the biggest to hit the US in more than a decade, approaches Texas.

Brent crude is up nearly 1% at $52.55 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate – the US benchmark – is 0.8% higher at ¢47.83.on concerns about the disruption the storm could cause. Justin Chan at Numis said:

Hurricane Harvey, a category-three storm, is expected to make landfall Friday night along the central coast of Texas where many refineries are located. The hurricane has continued to strengthen; if Harvey remains a category-three storm on landfall, it will be the strongest to hit the US since 2005.

Ahead of the main speeches at Jackson Hole, European stock markets have made a positive start to the day.

The FTSE 100 is up 0.2%, Germany’s Dax has added 0.11%, France’s Cac has climbed 0.15% while Spain’s Ibex is 0.2% better.

It’s shaping up to be an uneventful trading session, at least until we get past speeches from Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi later this evening. Investors have used the Jackson Hole event as an excuse to go on “pause” despite numerous hints from various insiders that neither Yellen nor Draghi will say anything dramatic when it comes to monetary policy. This is especially true of the Federal Reserve chair…

In other words, this year’s symposium should see a return to the days when it was a dry and dusty academic event only of interest to economists. But even though Mr Draghi isn’t expected to address the issue of the ECB’s €60 billion per month bond purchase programme, some traders believe he may have something to say about the euro. This follows on from last week’s release of minutes from the bank’s last meeting which showed that the Governing Council were concerned about the current strength of the euro. Some traders feel that the ECB don’t want to see the EURUSD get much above 1.2000 and will be listening out for anything that Mr Draghi may say on this matter.

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