The Week In Numbers: Rates Set To Rise In December?

129 innocent people were killed in a cowardly attack by terrorists in Paris. More than 20 foreigners from a number of countries were murdered. Many of the victims were young and mostly French. But there were others from the UK, Belgium, Germany, Algeria and Latin America. This has got to stop.

The minutes of the US Federal Reserve meeting showed that the conditions for an interest rate rise “will be met” in December. The Fed officials saw the jobs market improving and inflation starting to move towards their target of 2%. An early Christmas present from Janet Yellen to savers around the world could be on the cards. But the markets are ready. The Straits Times Index (SGX: ^STI) even climbed on the news. 

The Fed’s view for a rate rise could be reinforced by the latest US inflation numbers. After two straight months of declines, inflation rose 0.2% in October. Core inflation, which strips out food and energy costs also rose 0.2%, with medical costs and rent accounting for much of the increase. You never quite know where inflation will hit.

Prospects for tighter monetary conditions in the US sent commodity prices tumbling. Copper collapsed to a six-year low of US$4,787 per tonne, while zinc fell to US$1,553 a tonne. Gold, which is perceived by some as a safe-haven, did not escape the slump. It fell to a five-year low of US$1,074 an ounce. Where are the gold-bulls who were predicting the yellow metal at US$2,000 an ounce now?

And finally, a traffic police in California pulled over a car because it was driving too slowly. It was cruising at 24mph in a 35mph zone. But as the officer approached the slow-moving car, he realised it was Google Autonomous Vehicle, otherwise known as a self-driving car. Google said that after 12 million miles of autonomous driving, they have never been ticketed. There is always a first time for everything.

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