Macroeconomic weekly round up: Oil and equities – it’s been a rough week

Jason Walls breaks down the week's biggest macroeconomic stories. With special audio feature.

Cheap and downbeat equity markets seem to be the themes of the year so far and this week was no different.

There were shreds of optimism from oil producers, ahead of a meeting between Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, members of OPEC and Venezuelan representatives.

The hope was the oil men could come to an agreement about supply, which has been cited as the major reason the price of a barrel of oil is so low.

But, inevitably, an agreement was not reached and prices slumped back down.

The record low price of oil has been wreaking havoc on global equity markets.

Added to the volatility this week was the weaker than expected US jobs data.

The numbers disappointed and Wall Street dropped.

Things were downbeat in the Far East too. Hong Kong equity markets had their worst start to a lunar New Year since 1994, dropping 3.9%, according to Bloomberg. 

Gold looks to be a safe haven for investors, though, with the price climbing more than 4%.

The global volatility was a clear influence on US Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen’s testimony to Congress this week.  

She hinted that the Fed's trepidation over the path of interest-rate increases has risen.

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