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There wasn’t much in terms of top-tier data from Uncle Sam, so traders turned their attention to other market updates and oil-related remarks from Saudi Arabia.

  • U.S. total vehicle sales up from 16.6M to 16.9M vs. 17.1M consensus
  • Libya rival governments agreed to dissolve militias, talks peace
  • Saudi Arabia: Budget scenario at $45/barrel oil is fine
  • New Zealand GDT auction yielded 3.6% gain in dairy prices
  • New Zealand Q1 employment up by 1.2% vs. 0.8% forecast
  • New Zealand Q1 unemployment rate improved from 5.2% to 4.9%

Major Events:

Peace in Libya and $45/barrel oil for Saudi Arabia?

With the next OPEC summit set to take place in just a few weeks, market participants are all eyes and ears when it comes to remarks from energy ministers and oil mafia leaders.

Headlines revealed that Libya’s rival governments have reached an agreement to end months of clashing, thanks to a deal brokered by Italy. A statement released by the unity government indicated that both sides would continue to have discussions within the week to “stop the bleeding” and hopefully reach “peaceful and fair solutions to outstanding issues.”

Recall that the ongoing conflict in Libya has dampened the country’s oil production as attacks have damaged oil fields, tankers, and shipping zones. Last month, the reopening of the Zawiya export terminal led analysts to speculate that Libyan oil output could pick up to 660,000 barrels per day or higher since it is exempted from the OPEC deal.

Over in Saudi Arabia, deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman shared his plans to end the country’s dependence on black crack, citing that a government budget scenario based on $45/barrel Brent crude oil would still be fine. WTI crude oil closed $1.17 lower (-2.50%) to $47.68/barrel after dipping to a low of $47.35/barrel.

Upbeat reports from New Zealand 

Just before New York session traders called it a night, New Zealand held its Global Dairy Trade auction and printed its Q1 2017 jobs numbers.

The former yielded a 3.6% gain in dairy prices, its fourth consecutive bi-weekly gain after posting a 3.1% increase the other week. Most dairy products churned out strong gains, particularly butter milk powder which rose 21.8% and rennet casein up by 10.4%, but prices of skim milk powder dropped 0.9%.

Employment rose by 1.2% in the first quarter of the year, outpacing the projected 0.8% increase, while the previous quarter’s reading was downgraded from 0.8% to 0.7%. The unemployment rate fell from 5.2% to 4.9% versus the projected dip to 5.1% even with a 0.1% pickup in labor force participation.

Major Market Movers:

NZD

The Kiwi staged a late rally towards the end of the U.S. trading session as bulls charged upon seeing upbeat economic figures.

NZD/USD popped up from .6910 to a high of .6969, NZD/JPY broke out from 77.50 to a high of 78.02, EUR/NZD slid from 1.5773 to a low of 1.5684, and GBP/NZD is down to the 1.8600 area.

Watch Out For:

  • Japanese banks closed for the holiday
  • 12:30 am GMT: Australia AIG services index