Overnight Market Developments

The Fed slashed US interest rates to just 0.25% last night in a further effort to stimulate a flagging economy. What's it got left in it's armoury after that though?

The pound is up to $1.56, it's best against the dollar in more than a month. The downwards decline continues against the euro though, setting an all-time low for the eight consecutive day. Today's magic number is 1.1031, or one euro equal to 90.68 pence, and we trade very close to those levels right now at 9am GMT.

eCBOT is higher, as you might expect with a sharply weaker dollar, with beans around 11-12c higher and corn and wheat both in the region of 6c firmer.

Good demand from China, and hopes that a weak currency will improve export competitiveness are behind the rally.

Chinese soybean futures settled 1.3% higher overnight as the government continues to support domestic prices with a program to buy up to 3mmt from local farmers. This is turn is supporting US prices as Chinese crushers turn to them for cheaper supplies.

Year-end holiday short-covering is also a short-term supportive feature.

Taiwan bought 56,030mt US wheat overnight, Japan are expected to confirm a purchase of US/Canadian wheat today. South Korea bought 110,000 Brazilian soybeans.

Crude oil is almost a dollar firmer at $44.52/barrel ahead of the OPEC meeting in Algeria where some hefty production cuts are expected to be formally announced.

The producer group will probably trim production by 2 million barrels a day at the beginning of next year, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister has said. Russia, a non-OPEC member and the world’s second-largest crude exporter, may also cut output by as much as 400,000 barrels, according to Kuwait’s oil minister.

US stocks data, due out later this afternoon, will probably show inventories of crude, gasoline and distillates all rising last week, analysts say.

The FTSE100, DAX and CAC40 are all down 1-1.5% in early European trade.

The latest UK unemployment figures, due later, are expected to show that the slowing economy has taken its toll on the jobs market.

The number of people out of work hit 1.82 million in the three months to September and is likely to reach two million in the coming months.