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Canada's main stock index rose at the open on Wednesday, ahead of Bank of Canada's interest rate decision, with hopes of an interest rate cut in the United States getting a boost from dovish comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.
Investors will also be watching for minutes of the Fed's last policy meeting when officials edged toward a rate cut.
His appearances come at a particularly sensitive time for both the Fed and Powell personally, with President Donald Trump lashing out at his handpicked Fed chief for not cutting interest rates that, in Trump's view, are needlessly slowing the economy.
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Trump, who is counting on a strong economy as he heads into a re-election campaign, has called the Fed his biggest threat.
On Thursday Powell will appear before the Senate Banking Committee.
On the other hand, planemaker Airbus rose 1.2% after confirming deliveries rose by 28% in the first-half of the year, putting it ahead of Boeing for the first time in eight years. But he noted that "crosscurrents, such as trade tensions and concerns about global growth, have been weighing on economic activity and the outlook". "The employment data showed the USA economy added 224,000 jobs in June, about a third more than predicted and roughly triple the figure for May".
In prepared remarks ahead of his two-day testimony to Congress, Powell said overall growth has also "moderated", while "there is a risk that weak inflation will be even more persistent than we now anticipate". However, he added that "many" Fed official saw that the case for a looser monetary policy "had strengthened".
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Sterling was last quoted at $1.2453 after skidding to a new six-month low of $1.2439 on Tuesday, with Brexit jitters and growing expectations of a Bank of England rate cut adding to the currency's weakness.
Investors will be looking for clues on how the central bank proceeds in easing monetary policy. -China trade war. Lower economic growth means reduced demand for commodities including oil. -China trade war and agreed to resume talks toward a deal that would meet the administration's demands to better protect USA technology. But an unexpectedly strong U.S.jobs report last Friday has dimmed investors' expectations.
Other Fed bankers lined up to speak this week are New York Fed President John Williams (NYSE:), St Louis Fed president James Bullard, Fed Atlanta President Raphael Bostic, Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Randal Quarles, Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari. Trump's attacks have raised alarms that he is undermining the Fed's long-recognized independence from political pressure. He has argued that last year's rate hikes have held back economic growth and the stock market.
Oil prices jumped more than one percent after a closely watched industry report showed a massive drop in USA stockpiles last week, while traders also cheered reports that Russian output fell in July to its lowest in almost three years.
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The PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.