The United States was in the spotlight last week as a combination of payrolls, the latest FOMC Minutes, and the bombing of Syria dominated headlines. Unemployment figures proved to be a major disappointment after only 98,000 jobs were added even though the jobless rate fell to 4.50%. Apart from labor data, the latest FOMC minutes indicated that the Federal Reserve would gradually wind down its balance sheet. This tightening strategy would complement plans for an additional two rate hikes before the end of 2016.
In other news, US President Donald Trump ordered airstrikes in Syria following a chemical weapons attack, raising risk premiums in precious metals. Switching gears, unemployment in the Euro Area fell to its lowest point since May of 2009, reaching 9.50%. Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia left rates on hold at a record low 1.50%, but remains in a tricky situation as inflation remains low amid the climb in housing prices. Oil prices managed to finish the week higher despite US inventories hitting a record 534 million barrels. Production continues to grow, reaching 9.147 million barrels per day. Adding to pressure was the number of operational oil rigs climbing to the highest point since September of 2015, gaining now for 12-straight weeks, per Baker Hughes.