There was a couple news stories recently that you may have missed because they have no immediate effect on the markets. However, they are significant milestones.
#1) The Federal Reserve ends important monetization program.
(Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve completed its $300 billion Treasury purchase program today amid signs the seven-month buying spree helped stabilize the housing market and limited increases in borrowing costs.
Yields on the benchmark 10-year note, which help determine rates on everything from mortgages to corporate bonds, never rose above 4 percent after the central bank began acquiring the debt. They are less than half a percentage point higher than the day before the program was announced on March 18, even though the U.S. sold a record $1.25 trillion in notes and bonds, more than double the amount in the year-earlier period...
The Fed bought $1.936 billion in debt today through eight securities maturing from December 2013 to September 2014, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of New York statement.
The program was effective in keeping interest rates low, which gave the economy a chance at recovery. OTOH, it also helped knock the dollar down to near its lowest levels on record.
The ending of this program will probably see a stabilization in the dollar, but also rising interest rates. It should be noted that the Fed has not completed its purchases of mortgage-backed securities, although it will in the coming months.
#2) Saudis don't want world oil price set in U.S. anymore.
Saudi Arabia on Wednesday decided to drop the widely used West Texas Intermediate oil contract as the benchmark for pricing its oil, dealing a serious blow to the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The decision by the world's biggest oil exporter could encourage other producers to abandon the benchmark and threatens the dominance of the world's most heavily traded oil futures contract. It is the main contract traded on Nymex.
The move reveals the growing discontent of Riyadh and its US refinery customers with WTI after the price of the price of the benchmark became separated from the global oil market this year.
The surge in oil inventories in Cushing, Oklahoma, where WTI is delivered into America's pipeline system, depressed the value of the WTI against other global benchmarks, throwing the global oil market into disarray.
In January, WTI, which usually trades at a premium of $1-$2 a barrel to Brent, fell sharply, leaving it at a discount of almost $12 -- a record gap. This dislocation in the market continued well into the summer.
From January, Saudi Arabia will base the price of oil for its US customers on a new index developed by Argus, the London-based oil-pricing company.
The Saudis have priced their oil in WTI for 15 years.
While this shouldn't have any immediate effect on the markets, it is a milestone of America's slowly eroding financial dominance. The rest of the world, and Asia in particular, is starting to flex its economic muscles.