Romania's central bank unexpectedly cut its key interest rate on Wednesday for the seventh consecutive session to a new low. The Board of the National Bank of Romania reduced the monetary policy rate to 1.75% from 2.00%. Economists had expected the bank to leave rates unchanged following a quarter-point reduction in March. The central bank has lowered the rate steadily from 3.50% in six quarter-point reductions since August 2014.
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The European Central Bank (ECB) said it reached its purchase target of €60 billion in the second month of its bond-buying program. The ECB settled €47.7 billion of public-sector purchases in April, and filled the rest of the monthly quota with covered bonds and asset-backed securities. The weighted average maturity of the sovereign and supranational debt bought under the plan fell to 8.25 years in April from 8.56 years a month ago. German debt accounted for the biggest contribution to public-sector asset purchases.
U.S. Treasuries prices fell on Friday, extending an April slump, as a sell-off in European government bonds continued to diminish investor appetite for relatively higher U.S. yields. The Treasury 10-year note yield climbed 7 basis points to 2.10% after touching a seven-week high of 2.121% earlier. Investors cut their holdings of U.S. government debt in April, as hefty debt supply and growing optimism about Europe reduced safe-haven appeal of U.S. Treasuries, German bunds, and British gilts.
Oil prices edged higher on Thursday, set for their biggest monthly gain in nearly six years, as a weekly drop in U.S. oil stockpiles for the first time in months reinforced expectations that U.S. crude supplies are near a peak. U.S. crude for June delivery rose 0.8% (or 48 cents) to $59.08 a barrel after touching this year’s high of $59.40. Meanwhile, Brent crude for June settlement, the global benchmark, gained 0.7% (or 47 cents) to trade at $66.29 a barrel. Despite recent rally, oil prices are still more than 40% below their June 2014 high