Iran foreign min opens the door to direct talks with the US

Iran foreign minister Amirabdollahian said Tehran might consider direct talks with the US if it leads to a good outcome.

Signals from Iran nuclear talks have been so murky but I take this is concrete good news. Iran today refused to put prisoners into the negotiation but that’s what leaders always say publicly.

For the White House, high oil prices are a major problem and the easiest barrels to get online in the world are in Iran. That’s a win-win and this is an interesting overture.

Here’s a look at oil, which is off the lows today:


Goldman Sachs expect FOMC rate hikes in March, June, Sept and Dec but the risk is for more

Weekend note from Goldman Sachs on their Federal Open Market Committee expectations, via Bloomberg (may be gated).

GS forecast FOMC hikes in March, June, September and December, but …

  • “We see a risk that the FOMC will want to take some tightening action at every meeting until that picture changes,”
  • “This raises the possibility of a hike or an earlier balance sheet announcement in May, and of more than four hikes this year.”

This seems a little over the top from GS. GS say the Fed would hike in 25bp increments at consecutive meetings. GS don’t see 50bp hikes. as likely.

Iran nuclear agreement unlikely without release of U.S. prisoners

Reuters with the report.

  • The United States is unlikely to strike an agreement with Iran to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal unless Tehran releases four U.S. citizens Washington says it is holding hostage, the lead U.S. nuclear negotiator told Reuters on Sunday.
  • The official, U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley, repeated the long-held U.S. position that the issue of the four people held in Iran is separate from the nuclear negotiations. He moved a step closer, however, to saying that their release was a precondition for a nuclear agreement.

Oil is higher on the session here in Asia.

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