Israeli forces kill Palestinian fighter in West Bank raid on first day of Ramadan

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Israeli forces killed a Palestinian man during a raid in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, Palestinian officials said, amid attempts to curb surging violence from spiralling further.

A statement from Israeli border police said its undercover unit was involved in a raid early on Thursday to arrest a Palestinian man suspected of involvement in several shooting attacks. The forces surrounded the house he was in and fired at the man after he aimed a weapon at them, the border police said.

The Palestinian health ministry said 25-year-old Amir Abu Khadijeh was shot in the head in the city of Tulkarem.

A new group formed to confront Israel’s occupation under the name of the “Tulkarem Brigade” said Abu Khadijeh was one of its founders and described the killing as an “assassination”.

Thursday marked the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in the Palestinian territories.

In previous years, Ramadan has occasionally seen clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians, particularly around Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site, revered as the Temple Mount by Jews. Ramadan coincides this year with Judaism’s Passover and Christian Easter.

On Sunday, Israeli and Palestinian officials made commitments to de-escalate violence at a meeting attended by U.S., Egyptian and Jordanian delegations in the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The Israeli-occupied West Bank has seen a surge of confrontations in recent months, with near-daily Israeli military raids and escalating violence by Jewish settlers, amid a spate of attacks by Palestinians.

Over the past year, Israeli forces have killed more than 250 Palestinians in the West Bank, including fighters and civilians. More than 40 Israelis and three Ukrainians have died in Palestinian attacks in the same period.

The Palestinians aim to establish an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital, territories Israel captured in a 1967 war.

(Reporting by Ali Sawafta and Henriette Chacar; Editing by James Mackenzie and Hugh Lawson)

End to Taiwan ties nears as Honduras foreign minister goes to China

By Ben Blanchard and Gustavo Palencia

TAIPEI/TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) -The Honduran foreign minister is travelling to China to “promote” the establishment of diplomatic ties, an official said, signalling the end is most likely near for the country’s decades-long relations with Taiwan.

At stake is China’s growing footprint in Central America, once a steadfast base for Taiwan and where the United States is worried about Beijing’s expanding influence in its backyard.

Honduran President Xiomara Castro tweeted last week her government would seek to open relations with China.

“Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina on instructions from President Xiomara Castro travelled to China on Wednesday to promote efforts for the establishment of diplomatic relations,” presidential press secretary Ivis Alvarado said.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Beijing welcomed the Honduran government’s positive attitude towards building relations, and was willing to develop them “on the basis of equality and mutual respect”.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said it had summoned in the Honduran ambassador to express its “strong dissatisfaction” at the trip which “seriously harmed the feelings of our government and people”.

A source with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters Reina and his delegation left for Beijing from Panama, accompanied by Chinese officials. The source declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the situation.

A senior Taipei-based diplomatic source told Reuters that Reina going to China meant an announcement on forging relations was probably near.

“The die is cast,” the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

The move will leave Taiwan with diplomatic relations with only 13 countries.

Honduras denied on Wednesday it had demanded $2.5 billion in aid from Taiwan before its announcement to seek to open relations with China, instead saying the country had repeatedly asked Taiwan to buy Honduran public debt.

Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Wang called remarks about Honduras making the demand prior to its China announcement “absolutely preposterous and groundless”.

Speaking on Thursday to reporters at parliament, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said the situation with Honduras was “not very good”.

“The other side demanded a high price,” he added, though he did not directly confirm the $2.5 billion number, saying only that “the facts will out”.

China, which views Taiwan as its own territory with no right to state-to-state ties, has involved itself in the issue, Wu said, without giving details.

“The marks of Chinese involvement are very obvious,” he said.

But Taiwan will not engage in dollar diplomacy with China, Wu added.

The Honduras crisis erupted ahead of next week’s visit by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to Guatemala and Belize, which remain allies.

Tsai is stopping in New York on the way there and Los Angeles on the way back, where she is expected to meet U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Wu, asked to confirm that meeting, said it was still being arranged.

“Beijing originally planned to act in the second half of the year, but because of President Tsai’s visit, it brought its plans forward,” said the source with direct knowledge of the situation, referring to getting Honduras to switch sides.

Reina said last week Honduras’ decision was partly because the Central American country was “up to its neck” in financial challenges and debt – including $600 million it owes Taiwan.

He said on Wednesday his country had repeatedly requested Taiwan to buy Honduran public debt and that the $2.5 billion figure was “not a donation,” but rather “a negotiated refinancing mechanism”.

Wu, answering a lawmaker’s question, said Honduras’ demands were beyond what Taiwan could do and that it was not just Taiwan who was owed money.

“We have said to them previously the debt they owe us can be readjusted,” Wu said.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Gustavo Palencia; Additional reporting by Yimou Lee in Taipei and Laurie Chen in Beijing; Editing by Stephen Coates, Gerry Doyle and Tomasz Janowski)

The Crypto Market Has Let Off Steam

Bitcoin Rebounds From Panic Sell-off, Distancing Itself From Stock Market Woes

Bitcoin had a smooth climb on Wednesday, only to plunge into the abyss. The top cryptocurrency soared to $28.9K immediately after the Fed’s comments but tanked almost 8% from its high of $26.6K after Yellen’s remarks. It was a panic sell-off following the stock indices, whose losses were triggered by the Treasury head saying that full deposit insurance was not on the table.

Bitcoin 1 hour chart

The fact that BTCUSD has already recovered more than half of its losses suggests that cryptocurrencies are distancing themselves from the stock market’s problems.

Comments from top financial officials disrupted a nice short-term technical picture – a triangle forming. However, a sell-off at the end of the day allowed the market to let off steam and clear local overbought conditions. The return of buyers on the dip below $27,000 and near previous local lows suggests that the market remains bullish.

XRP jumped 20% on the increased likelihood of a settlement in the SEC case against Ripple. In a similar case involving the sale of the VGX token to the Binance.US exchange, a judge rejected the SEC’s request that the token is a security. This precedent hasn’t gone unnoticed by Ripple’s lawyers.

Crypto News

Real Vision CEO Raoul Pal says that ideal conditions are now in place for bitcoin to take its place alongside gold as a true safe-haven asset. BTC could reach $50K within a year amid the banking and economic crisis in the US, Pal suggested.

Cryptocurrencies do not meet stated use cases and pose general risks to investors and financial stability, according to the president’s annual economic report to Congress. Claims that crypto assets are an effective means of savings and payment do not stand up to scrutiny, the report’s authors say.

CNBC reported that Swiss banks are facing an enormous flood of US cryptocurrency banking requests, citing insiders. This has been influenced by Switzerland’s decision to accept digital assets as a legal part of the financial system and create a “Crypto Valley” region with tax incentives for core companies.

Telegram added support for Tether (USDT) transfers. Users can now send leading stablecoins to each other directly in Messenger chats.

by FxPro’s Senior Market Analyst Alex Kuptsikevich

ZuluTrade Launches Operations in Mauritius

Social trading leader ZuluTrade expands its offering in the market with the addition of wealth management services. As part of the Finvasia Group of companies, ZuluTrade receives the approval of the Financial Services Commission (FSC) of Mauritius (Licence No. IK21000018) to provide wealth management services.

The FSC granted an Investment Banking Licence to Finvasia Capital Limited in January 2023, which also applies to the group companies, including ZuluTrade. This is another noteworthy approval for Finvasia Group’s financial services and a significant achievement for ZuluTrade.

Finvasia Group Co-founder and CMD Sarvjeet Virk said, “the FSC licence marks an important milestone on ZuluTrade’s roadmap, opening new growth horizons for the company. Considering Finvasia’s investment banking licence granted by the Mauritius regulator also applies to all our brands, including ZuluTrade.”

Under this new licence, the financial firm can provide the following:

  • Investment Dealer (Full-Service Dealer including Underwriting)
  • Investment Adviser (Unrestricted) Licence
  • Investment Adviser (Corporate Finance Advisory)
  • Asset Management
  • Distribution of Financial Products

Under this licensing status, ZuluTrade will provide its broker-agnostic social wealth management and social trading services. All investors, irrespective of the available platform or broker they use, will benefit from the whole array of tools and resources that ZuluTrade has to offer:

  • Diversification of instruments: Stocks, Forex, Indices, Cryptocurrencies, Commodities
  • Social Feed to share trade ideas and engage with trading-related content
  • Access to a wide range of strategies with the ability to follow and copy them
  • Unique ability to backtest, adjust and launch their strategies and share them with the community (for professional traders)
  • Trading Automator and a lot more

On an institutional level, ZuluTrade also has a market-vetted value proposition for brokers, allowing them to explore new verticals by joining its network. Given the versatility of ZuluTrade’s technology, any broker operating on an MT4, MT5, ActTrader or XOH infrastructure can automatically offer ZuluTrade’s social wealth management services to its clients, without any limitations.

When asked about the opportunities that ZuluTrade will pursue with the Mauritius licensing, Finvasia’s Co-founder and ZuluTrade CEO Tajinder Virk said: “ZuluTrade has a clear growth path and mission, and that is to make wealth management simple and social, accessible across all categories of investors. Our broker-agnostic technology provides access to a wide range of markets and ready-made strategy proposals, allowing investors the freedom of choice when it comes to the platform or broker they wish to use. This is our main advantage over competitors.”

Visit ZuluTrade to learn more about the company and its extended service offering.

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT: Trading in financial instruments involves significant risk of loss.

FP Markets Launches cTrader to Compliment Its Existing Market-leading Offering

FP Markets has increased its suite of trading platforms in another move to meet the evolving needs of its traders and investors, providing its clients with a range of choices to suit trading styles and preferences, and giving them the professional tools they need to succeed. cTrader is an all-in-one trading experience that caters to short-term traders and longer-term position investors seeking access to multiple asset classes, including Forex, Stocks, Commodities, Indices, ETFs, Bonds and Digital Currencies.

The innovative cTrader Platform can be used through either FP Markets Demo or Live Accounts and is accessible on both Desktop and Mobile devices, allowing for flexibility and convenience. The FP Markets cTrader Trading Platform delivers a unique experience for novice and experienced traders, allows traders the ability to hedge, scalp, and the use of automated or manual trading strategies and is recognised for its fast execution speeds, customisable interface, advanced charting capabilities, and a broad selection of technical indicators.

Craig Allison, FP Markets Chief Executive Officer, stated: ‘FP Markets is committed to constantly improving its forex offering and adding CTrader to our wide-range of trading platforms is testament to this. Our market share swings towards the more sophisticated segment of traders and we have been inundated with requests for an additional platform with more institutional-style characteristics. The addition of the cTrader trading platform offering allows our clients the choice to further shape their trading experience with us. Our experienced team prides itself on consistently offering clients competitive pricing, fast execution, and service excellence’.

FP Markets offers over 10,000 trading instruments, delivering access to CFDs across Forex, Indices, Commodities, Stocks and Digital Currencies, making it one of the largest offerings in the industry. Over the past 18 years, FP Markets has learnt that the combination of consistently tight spreads and fast execution, coupled with cutting-edge platforms, a wide product range and first-rate customer support, are the key ingredients that give serious traders the confidence to trade. Since its establishment in 2005, FP Markets continues to develop its technological capabilities and expand its product offering, allowing investors to trade under some of the best trading conditions in the industry.

About FP Markets

  • FP Markets is an Australian Regulated global Forex Broker with more than 17 years of industry experience.
  • FP Markets offers highly competitive interbank Forex spreads available from 0.0 pips and leverage up to 500:1 on its pro account.
  • Download FP Markets’ Mobile App and trade on the go across several powerful online platforms like MetaTrader4, MetaTrader5, WebTrader, cTrader and Iress.
  • The company’s outstanding 24/7 multilingual service has been recognized by Investment Trends as home to some of the most content clients in the industry, having been awarded ‘The Highest Overall Client Satisfaction Award,’ five years running from Investment Trends.
  • FP Markets has been awarded as the ‘Global Forex Value Broker’ for four consecutive years (2019, 2020, 2021,2022) at the Global Forex Awards.
  • FP Markets has been awarded the “Best Forex Trading Experience in the EU” at the Global Forex Awards 2021.
  • FP Markets has been awarded the “Best Forex Broker in the EU” and the “Best Forex Partners Programme” at the Global Forex Awards 2022.
  • FP Markets has been awarded “Best Trade Execution” at the Ultimate Fintech Awards 2022.

For full details of our wide-ranging offering, visit

Five Things to Know in Crypto Today: Crypto in Post-Powell Recovery

Key Insights:

  • On Wednesday, the crypto market cap slid by $34.19 billion to $1,120 billion.
  • Fed Chair Powell sent the crypto market south on the talk of a credit crunch and a continued commitment to bringing inflation to target.
  • The SEC was also in action as US lawmakers and the US Government retargeted the digital asset space after a banking crisis-fueled lull.

Crypto Market Sinks on Fed Chair Powell Press Conference

On Wednesday, the crypto market gave up afternoon gains as investors responded to the Fed interest rate hike, FOMC Projections, and the Fed Chair Powell press conference.

The Fed raised interest rates by 25 basis points, in line with market expectations, with the FOMC projections signaling a peak rate of 5.1%, unchanged from December. However, an upward revision to the 2024 median cash rate delivered a hawkish tone.

Fed Chair Powell weighed on riskier assets, with the talk of a looming credit crunch stemming from the banking crisis. While Powell spoke of the Fed’s commitment to bring inflation to target, the Fed Chair insinuated a likely pause in policy moves to assess the impact of the banking crisis on the US economy and policy.

The crypto market tracked the NASDAQ Composite Index into the red. On Wednesday, the NASDAQ ended the day with a 1.60% loss.

This morning, the crypto market was up 1.30% to $1,134 billion, with the NASDAQ mini gaining 91.75 points.

Crypto market on the move.
Crypto Market Cap Daily Chart – 230323

XRP Holds Steady on Hopes of a Ripple Victory in the SEC v Ripple Case

On Wednesday, XRP tumbled by 9.87% to end the day at $0.42218. XRP was the worst performer of the top ten, with investors locking in profits from a breakout Tuesday.

However, XRP was back on the move this morning, rising by 2.08% to $0.4312.

XRP finds support.
XRPUSD Daily Chart – 230323

Increasing optimism of a Ripple win in the ongoing SEC v Ripple case has put XRP back in the limelight.

Overnight, Ripple President Monica Long spoke to CBNC, saying the facts and the law are on their side and sees a favorable outcome to the SEC v Ripple case. The Ripple President also talked about Ripple’s expansion outside of the US.

SEC Targets Coinbase for Breach of Securities Laws

Overnight, news hit the wires of the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) warning Coinbase (COIN) of possible breach of securities laws charges. The SEC sent a Wells Notice to Coinbase .

The company reportedly stated,

“Based on discussions with the Staff, the Company believes these potential enforcement actions would related to aspects of the Company’s spot market, staking service Coinbase Earn, Coinbase Prime, and Coinbase Wallet.”

Coinbase shared declined 8.16% to $77.14 in regular trading hours and extended losses during after-hours trading to $64.95.

The crypto industry is well versed with the SEC use of Wells Notices as the SEC continues to regulate by enforcement.

Coinbase shares tumble on SEC news.
COINBASE Daily Chart 230323

Telegram Announces Tether USD Payment Support on Tron

This week, stablecoins went more mainstream, with messaging app giant Telegram announcing that users can transfer Tether (USDT) via chat. While USDT runs on several prominent blockchains, Telegram will initially support USDT on Tron (TRX).

SEC Takes Aim at Tron’s Justin Sun for Securities Law Breaches

Tron’s Justin Sun hit the news for the wrong reasons this week. The SEC has charged Justin Sun with breaches of US securities laws for selling unregistered crypto assets securities.

The SEC alleges Sun and three companies, BitTorrent, Rainberry Inc., and Tron Foundation, sold TRX and BTT without registering them as securities.

According to the SEC press release, the SEC has also charged Sun and the companies with fraudulently manipulating the secondary market for TRX through extensive wash trading.

On Wednesday, TRX tumbled by 11.29% before finding support from the broader crypto market. This morning, TRX was up 3.86% to $0.06214.

TRX finds support.
TRXUSD Daily Chart – 230323

Russia’s war on Ukraine latest: Drones attack Ukrainian cities

(Reuters) – Russian drones attacked Ukrainian cities and missiles blasted an apartment block, but a months-long ground assault on the eastern town of Bakhmut could be stalling in the face of fierce resistance, according to Ukrainian and British military experts.


* At least nine people died in the Russian air strikes which Ukrainian President Zelenskiy said showed Moscow was not interested in peace.

* Zelenskiy’s office released a video of him handing out medals to troops it said were near the Bakhmut front line.

* British military intelligence said on Thursday that Russia had partially regained control over the approaches to the eastern Ukrainian town of Kreminna, after its troops were pushed back from the region earlier this year.

* The Russian-backed administration in Sevastopol suspended ferry routes around the Crimean port, shortly after its governor said air defences repelled a Ukrainian drone attack.

* Reuters could not immediately verify battlefield reports.


* Peace plans and pipelines: What came out of the Putin-Xi talks?

* Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping discussed a major new infrastructure project, Power-of-Siberia 2, to deliver gas to China via Mongolia. However, Russia is still waiting on a deal and China has powerful leverage to secure advantageous price terms. China is not expected to need additional gas supply until after 2030.

* During his two-day visit, Xi barely mentioned the Ukraine conflict beyond saying China had an “impartial position”.

* U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said China is “very carefully” watching the global response to the invasion but has not yet crossed the line of providing lethal aid to Moscow.


* Any attempt to arrest Putin after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for the Kremlin chief would amount to a declaration of war against Russia, his ally Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.

* EU leaders will discuss the war in Ukraine with U.N. chief Antonio Guterres on Thursday and also endorse a plan to ramp up the supply of artillery shells to Kyiv.

* Turkish President Erdogan said he will have phone call in two to three days with Putin to discuss the Black Sea grain export deal for Ukraine and Russia, Anadolu news agency reported.

* Rebuilding Ukraine’s economy is expected to cost $411 billion, 2.6 times Ukraine’s expected 2022 gross domestic product, an international study found.

* The spiritual head of the world’s Orthodox Christians said Russia’s powerful Orthodox Church shared responsibility for the conflict in Ukraine.

(Compiled by Reuters editors)

Denmark forecasts 3.9% inflation this year

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Denmark’s government expects inflation to fall to 3.9% this year, in line with the central bank’s forecast, according to a finance ministry report set to be released on Thursday, Danish broadcaster TV 2 reported.

Inflation, which stood at 7.7% last year, is expected to fall further to 2.8% next year, according to the report.

The government is set to present its 2023 budget proposal and economic forecast at 1100 GMT.

The previous government’s budget proposal from August, which was never passed, due to a general election in November, had focused on combating inflation by limiting new investments and setting aside a reserve to help Danes cope with rising prices.

On Thursday, the government will also propose tight spending for 2023, to prevent public spending from stoking inflation, business daily Borsen said, citing the budget proposal.

The government expects the economy to grow by 0.2% this year, down from an August forecast of 0.8%, it added.

By contrast, the central bank has said it expects the economy to grow by 0.9% this year.

Public finances will see a structural surplus of 0.7% of GDP in 2023, up from 0.4% seen last autumn, Borsen said.

(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen, Nikolaj Skydsgaard and Louise Rasmussen; Editing by Anna Ringstrom and Clarence Fernandez)

Gold Rallies Amid Banking Stress and Yield Decline

Key Takeaways

  • Gold rallies by $150/toz recently
  • Largest US 2-year yield decline since 1987
  • The rapid decline signals risk of market exit
  • Rates volatility reaches 2008 crisis levels

Gold has rallied by over $150/toz over the past two weeks on the back of banking stress and lit up by US 2-year yields recording the largest decline since 1987, which triggered a significant risk appetite reversal.

After a lengthy inversion, a rapid decline in front-end yields, in this case of a magnitude 10 variety, is typically a get-of-dodge signal for risk markets.

Fed Shift Ignites Market Volatility

The speed at which markets repriced a Fed pivot from 100bp tightening to 50bp in rate cuts by year-end has been unprecedented, leading to a spike in rates volatility to levels last seen in the depth of the 2008 financial crisis.

During the sell-off, gold outperformed risk assets such as equities or credit, turning it into an effective hedge in the risk-off rotation.

Volatility Impacts Commodities and Gold Amid Fear

Cyclical commodities like oil and base metals fell sharply, mainly on a liquidity shock as opposed to any change in underlying micro fundamentals that have, if anything, strengthened due to the improving China backdrop. Hence, rate volatility is tremendously impacting oil market sentiment these days.

Financially, this VaR shock started in rates as SVB’s collapse forced a rethink on the path of the Fed Funds Rate and pretty much everything else. If your central bank call is wrong, you will most assuredly get everything else wrong.

But ultimately, Fear is the essential medium to short-term driver for gold.

Dovish Rate Hike: Signals of US Recession Looming

Key Takeaways

  • FOMC meeting focuses on confidence
  • Rapid rate hikes impact the real economy
  • Main Street lenders face issues
  • Commercial real estate loans at risk
The FOMC meeting was less about the decision and more about the Fed’s ability to restore investor confidence in the banking sector. Still, markets sense the Fed might have broken something by delivering a dovish rate hike. And with the rates markets pricing in more cuts, it validates that view. Not only are investors losing confidence in the process, but they are probably more certain than ever that the US economy is headed for a recession.

After all, it is evident for anyone to see that the recent events confirmed that a rapid rate hiking cycle had an excessively negative impact on the real economy and, perhaps, the most crucial structural foundation of all, Main Street lenders.

Ultimately the Fed was in a no-win position with an impossible needle to thread. Had they paused, the market would have thought, what do they know we don’t and could have triggered a worse outcome. The good news is the Fed is unlikely to hike again any time soon; the bad news is the problems in Main Street lenders will most certainly impinge on the real economy.

Investors Face Crises and Risky Assets

When I went back to the drawing board at the start of this year, I had a hard time paying 18x for 0% expected earnings growth, and that was before the market plumbing sprung a leak and foundations cracked. So now, with rates markets back to signaling recession imminent, stocks should start to buckle as investors grow increasingly nervous that the regional banking story doesn’t subside, and we lurch from crisis to crisis.

And now that Pandora’s box has been opened, investors remain on high alert about other risky rate-sensitive assets lurking on banks’ balance sheets, specifically regarding commercial real estate loans, which could be the next domino to fall.

Risk Shifts Downward

We are amid the biggest confidence game in history, which the Fed and the US administration may have lost. However, I will note that we are only a fortnight into a new chapter, but the balance of risk appears to be shifting to the downside once again.

Oil Market Swings Amid Weaker Dollar and OPEC Patience

Key Takeaways

  • US futures edge higher, anticipating Fed pause
  • The dollar suffers due to policy confusion
  • Oil prices are influenced by Yuan and US dollar
  • OPEC’s patience and demand growth impact the oil market


US futures are nudging higher as the market bets the fed loses its nerve and downshifts anyway. Note the modern-day history book of Fed pauses is very bullish for stocks.

With bond markets “doubling down” on rate-cut bets and few lifelines in reach, the dollar continues to pay the prices for heightened policy confusion to solve a deposit confidence story that is extraordinarily vexing for US investors.

And with Powell and Yellen losing one of the biggest confidence games in history, US bank stocks continue to underperform European and Asian banks even with the ebb in volatility, which makes Europe and Asia a much safer bet; hence FX traders have been dialing for currencies most of the Asia session. Where the stronger Yuan should promote greater risk-taking locally, even if it is of the safe haven variety

In previous bank equity shocks, there have been three notable stages:

  • Sizing near-term impact and contagion risk
  • Framing funding/more medium-term earnings impacts
  • Repricing the cost of capital

And now that we are moving into stage three, the rise in the cost of funding has shown significantly more persistence in the US senior bank credit risk. It paints a highly challenging outlook for Main Street USA; hence confidence in the US banking system is getting painted red by a weaker US dollar.


Oil prices have been caught on the swing, but the stronger Yuan/ weaker US dollar should allow China fundaments to break through. While traders are still concerned about possible credit implements in the US economy that could slow the US heartland industrial wheels and another liquidy shock. But the weaker dollar on back notable gasoline and distillates declines, at least for today, paints a tentatively bullish backdrop.

But ultimately, we are in the OPEC patience trade zone where OPEC’s patience and strong demand growth in China and India could push the oil market back into deficits from June 2023 onward.

Student accused of shooting two faculty members in Denver found dead

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) -The student who was accused of shooting and wounding two faculty members at his Denver high school has been found dead near his vehicle in Park County.

The Park County Coroners Office confirmed in a Facebook post that the body belonged to 17-year-old Austin Lyle, who shot faculty members as they were patting him down for weapons as part of a “safety plan” devised for the youth based on previous behavioral issues.

The East High School student fled the shooting scene on foot immediately after Wednesday’s violence, which unfolded just before 10 a.m. local time (1600 GMT).

Denver Police Department had said in a tweet that a body was located near the suspect’s vehicle, adding that the identity and cause of death would be determined by the Park County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“This particular student had a safety plan that was in place where they were to be searched at the beginning of the school day every day,” Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas told reporters during a news conference earlier.

Neither police nor education authorities disclosed the specific conduct that led the school to adopt an individualized security protocol for the student. A wanted bulletin issued after the shooting included a photo of the student and of a car similar to one he might be driving.

The dean of the school and other staff members were conducting the search when several shots were fired, and the student fled, apparently still armed with the handgun used in the attack.

The two victims were taken to an area hospital where one was listed in critical condition and undergoing surgery, and the other was in serious but stable condition, Thomas said.

The bloodshed came three years after the Denver school board voted to eliminate its program of assigning armed city police officers, known as school resources officers, to its public school campuses, relying instead on the school district’s own security team.

In light of Wednesday’s shooting, two armed police officers will be returned to East High School, located in Denver’s City Park neighborhood, for the rest of the current academic year, said Alex Marrero, the district superintendent.

Classes for the school’s 2,500 students will be canceled for the rest of the week, Marrero said.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver and Juby Babu in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Steve Gorman, Cynthia Osterman, Bill Berkrot and Tomasz Janowski)

S&P 500 Futures Edge Higher Following More than 1.6% Decline the Previous Session

Key Takeaways

  • Wall Street experiences sharp decline as Fed hints at future rate hikes
  • Dow initially rises by 201 points before plummeting by over 530 points or 1.6%
  • Fed’s decision to raise rates and concerns about inflation weigh on stock market
  • Some members of the Federal Open Markets Committee suggest additional tightening may be possible


In the pre-market session on Wednesday evening, U.S. equity futures were trading higher, with futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average increasing by 153 points or 0.47%. Similarly, S&P 500 futures rose by 0.57%, and Nasdaq 100 futures advanced by 0.68%.

This can be seen as positive market movement, reflecting the impact of traders digesting the latest policy update from the Federal Reserve.

Daily S&P 500 Index

Wall Street Sees Sharp Decline as Fed’s Powell Hints at Possible Future Rate Hikes

During regular trading, the major averages experienced a sharp decline, with the Dow initially rising by 201 points before plummeting by over 530 points or 1.6%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite also dropped by more than 1.6%.

On Wednesday, Wall Street was volatile as the U.S. Federal Reserve’s expected policy hike of 25 basis points was announced, with hints that future increases may be paused due to recent financial turmoil.

Prior to the announcement, the U.S. stock indexes had no clear direction, but after the statement and subsequent Q&A session with Chair Jerome Powell, they initially rose before declining. By the end of trading, all three indexes had fallen by more than 1.6%.

Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance in Charlotte, North Carolina, commented, “The market initially responded positively to the Fed’s consideration of a complete pause, but was disappointed when Powell clarified that they can still raise rates if necessary.”

Federal Reserve’s Rate Hike Decision and Powell’s Comments Weigh on Stock Market, with Concerns About Inflation and Banking Sector Turmoil

The Federal Reserve’s decision to raise rates by 25 basis points, as expected, and Chairman Jerome Powell’s subsequent comments during the conclusion of the two-day meeting, caused a decline in the stock market.

Although the central bank removed the phrase “ongoing increases” from its statement, suggesting that its tightening campaign could be nearing the end, some members of the Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) still indicated that additional tightening could be possible.

Investors were reminded that inflation is still a main concern for policymakers. This led to a sharp drop in regional bank stocks and added to concerns that the Fed’s aggressive battle against inflation could tip the economy into recession.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s remarks that the FDIC was not considering “blanket insurance” for deposits arising from recent strife in the sector also weighed on the market.

Traders are now looking forward to the weekly jobless claims update and new home sales data, while General Mills and Darden Restaurants are scheduled to report their latest financial results.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

China’s military says US warship illegally entered waters in South China Sea

BEIJING (Reuters) -China’s military said on Thursday it had monitored and driven away a U.S. destroyer that illegally entered waters around the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.

In a statement, the military said that the guided-missile destroyer USS Milius intruded into China’s territorial waters, undermining peace and stability in the busy waterway.

“The theater forces will maintain a high state of alert at all times and take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and security and peace and stability in the South China Sea,” said Tian Junli, a spokesman for China’s Southern Theatre Command.

The U.S. Navy on Thursday disputed the Chinese military statement, saying the destroyer is conducting “routine operations” in the South China Sea and was not expelled.

“The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows,” a statement from the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet said.

Tension between the United States and China has been growing in the area.

The United States has been shoring up alliances in the Asia-Pacific seeking to counter China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, as Beijing seeks to advance its territorial claims.

(Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Writing by Bernard Orr; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Gerry Doyle)

Gold Prices Rise on Fed’s Hints of Halting Interest Rate Hikes Amid Economic Uncertainties

Key Takeaways

  • Gold prices increase by 2% after the Fed hints at a pause in rate hikes.
  • The US Federal Reserve suggests that it may stop raising interest rates soon, making gold a better investment option.
  • Speculators tend to find gold more attractive when interest rates are low.
  • Some analysts believe the current economic uncertainty and fewer expected Fed rate hikes will encourage more investors to consider gold.
  • The Fed is more focused on fighting inflation than cutting rates and may raise rates further if necessary.


Gold prices are edging higher on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve suggested it may stop raising interest rates soon. This move would make gold a better investment option since speculators tend to find it more attractive when interest rates are low.

At 06:00 GMT, June Comex gold futures are trading $1996.90, up $30.10 or +1.54%. XAU/USD is at $1976.79, up $7.06 or +0.36%. On Wednesday, the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD) settled at $183.39, up $3.02 or +1.67%.

Gold Prices Surge as Fed Hints at Pause in Rate Hikes Amid Economic Uncertainties

Gold prices increased by 2% on Wednesday after the Fed raised interest rates as expected, but also hinted that it may not increase rates again soon due to the recent collapse of two U.S. banks. Gold is often considered a good investment during times of inflation and economic uncertainty.

However, the Fed has made it clear that it is more focused on fighting inflation than on cutting rates, and it may raise rates further if necessary. The language used by Fed Chair Jerome Powell during his press conference was carefully watched by investors.

Despite this, some analysts believe that the current economic and financial uncertainty, combined with fewer expected Fed rate hikes, will encourage more investors to consider precious metals like gold.

Daily June Comex Gold

Daily June Comex Gold Technical Analysis

The main trend is up according to the daily swing chart. A trade through $2031.70 will reaffirm the uptrend. A move through $1830.20 will change the main trend to down.

The minor trend is also up. A trade through $1953.70 will change the minor trend to down. This will shift momentum to the downside.

The minor range is $2031.70 to $1953.70. The market is currently testing its retracement zone at $1992.70 to $2001.90.

The nearest resistance is the April 18, 2022 main top at $2045.80. The closest support is a minor 50% level at $1968.90.

Daily June Comex Gold Technical Forecast

Trader reaction to $1992.70 and $2001.90 is likely to determine the direction of the June Comex gold futures contract on Thursday.

Bullish Scenario

A sustained move over $2001.90 will indicate the presence of buyers. If this creates enough upside momentum then look for a surge into the main top at $2031.70, followed by $2045.80.

Bearish Scenario

A sustained move under $1992.70 will signal the presence of sellers. If this generates enough downside momentum then look for a break into $1968.90, followed by $1953.70.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

DAX Futures Flash Red with the Powell Conference to Deliver Direction

It was a bullish Wednesday session for the DAX, which rose by 0.14% to end the day at 15,216.

There were no economic indicators from the euro area or the US to distract investors ahead of the Fed interest rate decision, FOMC Projections, and Fed Chair Powell’s press conference.

The lack of economic indicators left investors to consider the possible implications of the banking crisis on the Fed’s interest rate trajectory. Inflation remains sticky, with labor market conditions still very tight. Recent economic indicators suggest the need for more interest rate hikes to bring inflation to target.

However, easing bets of a 50-basis point Fed rate hike and expectations of a pause and rate cut in H2 2023 provided support throughout the session.

A Quiet Economic Calendar Left the DAX Flat Ahead of the Fed

There were no economic indicators from the euro area or the US to distract investors from the heavily anticipated Fed interest rate decision, FOMC projections, and Fed Chair Powell’s press conference.

Bets of a hawkish Fed had eased in response to the banking crisis. However, Powell sent the US equity markets into negative territory, which could pressure the DAX this morning.

The Market Movers

It was a bullish Wednesday for the auto sector. Porsche and Daimler led the way, rising by 1.00% and 0.98%, respectively. BMW ended the day up 0.88%, with Continental and Volkswagen seeing gains of 0.24% and 0.50%, respectively.

However, bank stocks struggled ahead of the Fed. Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank saw losses of 2.24% and 2.09%, respectively.

The Day Ahead for the DAX

It is a quiet day ahead on the economic calendar. There are no economic indicators from the euro area for investors to consider. With no economic indicators to influence, we expect investors to respond to the Wednesday Fed interest rate hike, FOMC projections, and Fed Chair Powell press conference.

On Wednesday, the NASDAQ Composite Index fell by 1.60%, with the Dow and S&P 500 seeing losses of 1.63% and 1.65%, respectively.

The FOMC projections revealed an upward revision to the median Federal Funds Rate to 4.3% in 2024 while leaving the median for 2023 at 5.1%.

A change in forward guidance was insufficient to provide price support.

Powell discussed the possible influences of the banking sector on monetary policy, saying,

“We no longer state that we anticipate that ongoing rate increases will be appropriate to quell inflation. Instead, we now anticipate that some additional policy firming may be appropriate.”

However, Powell reiterated the commitment to bring inflation to target, which was enough to send the US indexes into negative territory. The talk of a credit crunch was also bearish, with the curtailing of lending likely to impact the economic growth prospects.

Later in the European session, US economic indicators will draw interest, with the labor market in the spotlight. Economists forecast initial jobless claims to rise from 192k to 197k. Sub-200k would continue to signal very tight labor market conditions.

ECB member chatter will also provide direction today, with Chief Economist Philip Lane in focus this afternoon.

DAX Technical Indicators

The DAX has to move through the 15,227 pivot to target the First Major Resistance Level (R1) at 15,288 and the Wednesday high of 15,299. A return to 15,250 would signal a bullish session. However, the DAX would need ECB chatter and US economic indicators to support a bullish session.

In the case of an extended rally, the bulls will likely test the Second Major Resistance Level (R2) at $15,359. The Third Major Resistance Level (R3) sits at 15,491.

Failure to move through the pivot would leave the First Major Support Level (S1) at 15,156 in play. However, barring a flight to safety, the DAX should avoid sub-$15,000. The Second Major Support Level (S2) at 15,095 should limit the downside. The Third Major Support Level (S3) sits at 14,963.

Looking at the EMAs and the 4-hourly chart, the EMAs send bullish signals. The DAX sits above the 100-day EMA (15,206). The 50-day EMA closed in on the 100-day EMA, with the 100-day EMA widening to the 200-day EMA, delivering bullish signals.

A hold above the 100-day EMA ($15,206) would support a breakout from R1 (15,288) to give the bulls a run at R2 (15,359). However, a fall through the 100-day EMA (15,206) and the 50-day EMA (15,196) would give the bears a run at S1 (15,156) and 15,000. A fall through the 50-day EMA would send a bearish signal.

Chart, histogram Description automatically generated

The DAX Futures Sees Red

Looking at the futures markets, DAX was down 54 points, while the NASDAQ mini was up 63.5 points. The Dow mini rose by 143 points.

For a look at the economic events, check out our economic calendar.


Factbox-Five things to know about Australia’s planned Indigenous referendum

By Praveen Menon

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Thursday outlined key details for a proposed referendum between October and December this year on recognising the nation’s Indigenous people in its constitution.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who represent about 3.2% of Australia’s population, are currently not mentioned in the constitution.

Here are five things to know about the referendum:


Albanese has proposed adding an additional chapter to Australia’s constitution. The new chapter will read as follows:

In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia:

1. There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal andTorres Strait Islander Voice;  2. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may makerepresentations to the Parliament and the Executive Governmentof the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and TorresStrait Islander peoples; 3. The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, havepower to make laws with respect to matters relating to theAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including itscomposition, functions, powers and procedures.


Albanese said on Thursday the referendum question would be: “A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?”


The government will introduce a bill in parliament in next week outlining the proposed changes to the constitution.

This will be scrutinised by a parliamentary committee.

Once approved in parliament, it will be sent to the Governor General, the local representative of the British monarch, who issues a writ for a referendum.


To change the constitution, the government must secure what is known as a double majority in the referendum.

That means more than 50% voters must vote in favour nationally, plus a majority of voters in a majority of the states must back the change.

Votes of people living in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), the Northern Territory regions, and any of Australia’s external territories, count towards the national majority only.

Poll turnout will be high as voting is compulsory.


There have been 44 proposals for constitutional change in 19 referendums, and only eight of these proposals have been approved.

In the last referendum in 1999, Australians voted against changing the constitution to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic with the British monarch and Governor-General being replaced by a President appointed by a two-thirds majority of members of parliament.

(Reporting by Praveen Menon in Sydney; Editing by Alasdair Pal and Lincoln Feast.)

Canada lawmaker denies report of Chinese influence, but exits party

By Steve Scherer

OTTAWA (Reuters) – A Chinese-Canadian lawmaker, cited in unconfirmed media reports as having ties to the Beijing government, forcefully denied those allegations but announced his resignation as a member of the Liberal Party led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau last month denied a media report the party had been warned by the country’s spy agency to drop Han Dong, a Toronto-area member of parliament, as a Liberal candidate ahead of the 2019 election because he had Beijing’s support.

On Wednesday a new story by Global News, a Canadian broadcaster, reported Han had advised a senior Chinese diplomat in February 2021 that Beijing should hold off freeing two Canadians held there under espionage charges.

Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig returned to Canada in September 2021 after Chinese executive Meng Wanzhou was released from house arrest in Canada.

“I did nothing to cause them any harm. Like everyone in this house, I worked hard and advocated for their interest,” Han told parliament after the Global News report.

Trudeau’s office did not immediately comment.

Earlier this week, Trudeau bowed to pressure from the opposition and agreed to allow his top aide to testify before a parliamentary committee probing alleged Chinese election interference.

“What has been reported is false and I will defend myself against these absolutely untrue claims,” Han said after saying he would sit as an independent in parliament and leave the Liberal caucus.

“Sitting (in) the government caucus is a privilege and my presence there may be seen by some as a conflict of duty and the wrong place to be as an independent investigation pursues the facts,” he said.

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

Hang Seng Index, ASX200, Nikkei 225: Hang Seng Bucks a Bearish Trend

  • It was a mixed morning for the Asian markets, with the Hang Seng Index finding support while the ASX 200 and the Nikkei saw red.
  • The Asian markets responded to the overnight Fed policy move, FOMC Projections, and the Fed Chair Powell press conference.
  • There were no economic indicators to distract investors this morning, with expectations of a Fed pause on rate hikes supporting the Hang Seng Index.

Market Overview

It was a mixed morning for the Asian markets. The Hang Seng Index led the way, while the ASX 200 and the Nikkei struggled.

Investors responded to the overnight Fed interest rate hike, FOMC Projections, and Fed Chair Powell’s press conference.

On Wednesday, the Fed lifted rates by 25 basis points, in line with expectations. However, an upward revision to the median Federal Funds Rate to 4.3% and an unchanged 2023 peak of 5.1% were hawkish.

Fed Chair Powell poured cold water on hawkish sentiment during the press conference. While acknowledging that economic indicators came in stronger than expected, Powell discussed the possible influences of the banking sector on monetary policy, saying,

“We no longer state that we anticipate that ongoing rate increases will be appropriate to quell inflation. Instead, we now anticipate that some additional policy firming may be appropriate.”

The Fed Chair also talked of a credit crunch that would have disinflationary effects, enabling the Fed to hit pause.

The NASDAQ Composite Index fell by 1.60% on Wednesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 seeing losses of 1.63% and 1.65%, respectively. However, market conditions improved this morning, with the NASDAQ mini up 60.25 points. The Dow mini was up 142 points, supporting the Asian markets this morning. There were no economic indicators from the region to distract investors.

ASX 200

ASX 200 sees red.
ASX 200 230323 Daily Chart

The ASX 200 was down 0.61%, with mining and bank stocks hitting reverse. There were no economic indicators to move the dial.

It was a bearish morning for the big-4. National Australia Bank (NAB) was down 0.82%, with ANZ Group (ANZ) falling by 0.48%. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and Westpac Banking Corp (WBC) saw modest losses of 0.23% and 0.09%, respectively.

Mining stocks were also in the red. Rio Tinto (RIO) and BHP Group Ltd (BHP) fell by 0.88% and 0.64%, respectively, with Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) down 2.66%. Newcrest Mining (NCM) bucked the trend, rising by 1.23%.

Oil stocks joined the broader market in the red. Woodside Energy Group (WDS) and Santos Ltd (STO) declined by 0.70% and 1.07%, respectively. Crude oil prices were back in the red this morning, with Brent Crude down 0.83% to $76.05.

Hang Seng Index

Hang Seng Index finds support.
HSI 230323 Daily Chart

The Hang Seng was up 0.78% this morning. Bets of a Fed pause on interest rate hikes provided support. However, the upside was modest, with concerns over a credit crunch and the knock-on effects on the US economy weighing.

Considering the main components, Tencent Holdings Ltd (HK:0700) and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (HK:9988) rose by 5.65% and 1.75%, respectively.

It was a mixed morning for banking stocks. HSBC Holdings PLC and China Construction Bank (HK: 0939) saw losses of 0.37% and 0.20%, respectively, while Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (HK:1398) rose by 0.47%.

CNOOC (HK: 0883) was up by 1.23%.

Nikkei 225

The Nikkei 225 was down 0.29% this morning, with the weaker USD/JPY weighing.

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (8316) and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group fell by 1.44% and 1.97%, respectively.

Sony Corp (6758) and KDDI Corp (9433) fell by 1.41% and 1.48%, respectively, with SoftBank Group Corp. (9984) and Fast Retailing Co (9983) seeing losses of 0.96% and 0.91%, respectively. Tokyo Electron (8035) bucked the trend, rising by 1.12%.

Check out our economic calendar for today’s economic events.

Natural Gas Futures Rise Ahead of Weekly Storage Report

Key Takeaways

  • Natural gas futures rise after previous session’s decline fueled by position-squaring
  • Weekly government storage report due to be released, analysts expecting a steep pull
  • Spring weather expectations and high production levels result in a decrease in demand
  • US Lower 48 states to experience slightly below average temperatures, followed by benign spring weather next month


Natural gas futures are edging higher early Thursday after a steep decline the previous session. The move is likely being fueled by position-squaring ahead of today’s weekly government storage report, due to be released at 14:30 GMT. Analysts are anticipating a relatively steep pull that that would reflect a brief but notable blast of snow and cold last week.

At 05:03 GMT, May natural gas futures are trading $2.351, up 0.044 or +1.91%. On Wednesday, the United States Natural Gas Fund ETF (UNG) settled at $7.37, down $0.36 or -4.66%.

Natural Gas Futures Drop Again on Spring Weather Expectations and High Production Levels

Natural gas futures decreased for the third time in four sessions on Wednesday, as the market is expecting milder spring weather and high levels of natural gas production. This resulted in a decline in demand, despite a record high gas flow to liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plants.

Prices also dropped despite forecasts of cooler weather and higher heating demand, as the impact of slightly colder weather in late March on heating demand is much less significant than colder weather in late January.

US Lower 48 States to Experience Below Average Temperatures, Followed by Benign Spring Weather Next Month

According to weather forecasts, the US Lower 48 states will experience slightly below average temperatures over the next two weeks. High pressure will bring warm weather from Texas to the Northeast.

Although cool to cold weather systems will result in moderate demand this weekend and slightly stronger demand next week, benign spring weather is anticipated in April.

An analyst from Rystad Energy suggests that the growing natural gas supply may not be balanced out by the lower demand as winter comes to a close.

Daily May Natural Gas

Daily May Natural Gas Technical Analysis

The main trend is down according to the daily swing chart. A trade through $2.493 will confirm Tuesday’s closing price reversal bottom and shift momentum to the upside.

A move through $2.240 will negate the chart pattern and signal a resumption of the downtrend. A move through $2.789 will change the main trend to up.

The minor range is $2.789 to $2.240. Its pivot at $2.515 is the next upside target and potential resistance.

Daily May Natural Gas technical Forecast

Trader reaction to $2.370 is likely to determine the direction of the May natural gas futures contract on Thursday.

Bearish Scenario

A sustained move under $2.360 will indicate the presence of sellers. If this creates enough downside momentum then look for the selling to possibly extend into $2.240. This is a potential trigger point for an acceleration to the downside.

Bullish Scenario

A sustained move over $2.370 will signal the presence of buyers. If this generates enough upside momentum then look for a possible surge into $2.515.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.