Investing.com - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Monday March 20:
1. Dollar falls for 4th day in a row
The dollar extended losses to a fourth session on Monday, on track for its longest losing streak since early November as traders continued to pare back bullish bets following the Federal Reserve's dovish guidance on the future pace of rate hikes.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down about 0.2% at 99.98 by 5:55AM ET (10:55GMT). It fell to 99.86 earlier, the lowest since February 6.
The greenback has been on the retreat since the Fed raised interest rates on Wednesday last week, but stopped short of predicting a sharper acceleration in monetary tightening over the next two years.
Market players will focus on a handful of Fed speakers in the week ahead, including Chair Janet Yellen on Thursday, as they look for more clues on the timing of the next U.S. rate hike.
Monday sees Chicago Fed President Charles Evans speak about current economic conditions and monetary policy at the National Association for Business Economics luncheon in New York at 1:10PM ET (17:10GMT).
2. Oil continues slide
Oil prices started the week off with heavy losses on Monday, as rising U.S. shale production continued to feed concerns about a global supply glut.
Data from oilfield services provider Baker Hughes on Friday revealed that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by 14 last week, the ninth weekly increase in a row.
That brought the total count to 631, the most since September 2015, underlining concerns that the ongoing rebound in U.S. shale production could derail efforts by other major producers to rebalance global oil supply and demand.
3. Global stocks mostly lower
U.S. stock market futures pointed to a lower open on Monday morning, as the dollar remained on the backfoot and oil prices continued to move south, weighing on sentiment.
4. G20 ministers drop free-trade pledge
Investors mulled headlines out of the G20 finance ministers meeting in Germany at the weekend to gauge the potential impact that trade barriers could have on global growth.
Financial leaders from the world's biggest economies reiterated their warnings against competitive devaluations and disorderly foreign exchange markets, but they failed to agree on a commitment to keep international trade free and open, highlighting a global shift towards protectionism.
5. French politics back in focus ahead of 1st debate
European politics loomed large again with the first televised French presidential debate due at 19:00GMT (3PM ET) on Monday.
Opinion polls out over the weekend showed centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen running neck and neck for the first round of voting in France's presidential election, though she is still seen being beaten by a wide margin in a runoff.
The first round of the French Presidential election is scheduled on April 23, with the run-off between the top two contenders on May 7.
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