We’re slap-bang in the middle of yet another week on this funny little planet and boy, has it been busy! To be honest, 2019 hasn’t ever really been dull, has it? This week, we’re bringing you an update on the latest goings-on in the Middle East, which may or may not impact oil prices; and we’ll touch on some exciting news coming out of everyone’s favourite social network, Facebook. Let’s go!

Iran: Hey – That’s Mine!

You must have seen the news coming out of the Gulf of Oman, this week? Two tankers – one Norwegian, the other Japanese – were hit by ‘something explosive’ close to the Strait of Hormuz late last week, which comes in the middle of the latest Whitehouse spat with, yep, you guessed it – Tehran. What followed was the release of a Pentagon video evidently showing the Iranian Republican Guard removing an unexploded mine from the side of the Japanese Kokuka Courageous. We’d almost say it was unbelievable, but it’s 2019 – anything is possible! Not-so-shockingly, Tehran (as well as their chums in Moscow) have dismissed such allegations.

So, what’s this got to do with the price of fish? Absolutely nothing. But it has everything to do with the price of oil! Despite these ‘attacks’ and the continued shaky-ness across the Middle East, the oil market has descended into a weird kind of calm. The effect on actual prices was muted. On Thursday, oil briefly rose 4.5 per cent to over $62 a barrel, but then quickly slipped back down, leaving prices at the end of week lower than they were a week before, and 20 per cent down over the past month. Now there’s a head-scratcher if ever we saw one!

We can only guess what will happen next, but for sure – keep an eye on oil prices. It might be a provide some good market opportunities.

Facebook Feeling Libra-rated!

It was probably the worst secret in crypto, but it landed like a sledgehammer this week. In case you missed it, Facebook has now officially entered the Cryptosphere, with the announcement of its own cryptocurrency, the rather interestingly named … Libra. Interesting choice of name – we were secretly hoping that CEO Mark Zuckerberg, might add a touch of humour and call them ‘Zucks’ (like ‘bucks’)! …We clearly have too much faith. 

Anyway… According to the whitepaper released today, Libra will – from next year – allow us all to buy things or send money to people with nearly zero fees. Nice. We’ll also be able to buy or cash-out our Zucks Libra online or at local exchange points, like supermarkets. Cool. We’ll also be able to spend our crypto-cash using third-party wallet apps or Facebook’s (also new and shiny) Calibra wallet, which will be built into WhatsApp and Messenger. Uber and Visa are also likely to accept the token in future, too.

It’s a pretty bold foray into an emerging industry and will undoubtedly shine a light on crypto. The Bitcoin price surged to its highest point in 2019 ($9288) on the news, showing that it’s a symbol of greater acceptance of crypto assets as a whole.

Facebook isn’t the sole proprietor of Libra, it’s leading an alliance of companies in this venture, including Uber, Visa and Andreessen Horowitz. Unfortunately for Facebook shareholders, this leading position didn’t reflect so well on the social network’s stock, which initially climbed more than 1% on Tuesday morning, before later losing steam and ending the day down 0.3% at $188.47 a share. Hmmm…

It’s very early days, and traders would be wise to keep their eyes firmly on new announcements ahead of the big Zucks Libra launch in 2020. Fortunately for you, you can trade CFDs in both oil and facebook with us! Not only do we have awesome and super-friendly trading conditions, we’re also fully regulated by both the FCA and FSA and can offer world-class execution. So, take a peek – we don’t bite!

TIO Staff
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