• Norges Bank expects first rate hike to occur in the second half of the year

  • Major European stock benchmarks remain in the vicinity of today’s opening

  • Bitcoin makes its way back above $8k

Norges Bank stole the show in the morning as it signalled that the first interest rate hike may take place as soon as the second half of 2018. In response NOK surged being the strongest currency in the G10 basket at press time. On the other hand NZD is the weakest one after disappointing GDP print was released overnight. Gold trades at a little discount while oil prices advance.

As broadly expected the Norwegian central bank maintained its monetary policy settings unchanged at the March meeting offering a reason to be more bullish on the NOK though. As a result, the local krone jumped, and it has remained the strongest currency among its major peers until now.

Theresa May found herself in a tough position as she had to free her mind from the Brexit issues for a while and address recent poisoning of a former spy in Salisbury. May along with many other political leaders around the globe accuses Russia of the attack. In response PM May expelled 23 Russian diplomats from the UK.

Yesterday we wrote about the story regarding Google which decided to ban all ads promoting digital currencies and other related products such as ICOs. While the Bitcoin price did play down this news at a time when it had been released, it turned out a delayed response as Bitcoin tumbled well below $8000 thereafter.

The beginning of trading on Thursday is quite calm without any substantial moves of note. The Japanese yen is currently the best performing currency as it was the case earlier this week. However, major attention during the Asian session was paid elsewhere, namely to the New Zealand economy from where GDP numbers for the fourth quarter were released.

SNB and Norges Bank decisions are already behind us but this does not mean there aren’t any interesting readings left in Thursday’s economic calendar. In the afternoon weekly report from the US labour market will be released thus an increased volatility on USD may appear.