Stock index futures traded slightly higher ahead of the open Friday as investors digested the latest hike in bank reserve requirements by China’s central bank and as the G20 meeting of finance ministers got underway in Paris.
The People's Bank of China raised lenders' required reserves by 50 basis points, on Friday, the second such increase this year as it tries to curb inflation.
The move came as PBOC governor Zhou Xiaochuan joined G20 ministers and central bankers to discuss a reform of the currency system—with less reliance on the US dollar—and commodity prices. Host France would like to tackle speculation to limit volatility on the markets.
The G20 has set itself the ambitious goal of agreeing on how to measure imbalances in the global economy, but a final agreement is not expected when the two-day meeting concludes on Saturday.
In remarks ahead of the summit on Friday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged the Fed's bond buying program to stimulate the U.S. economy may be contributing to accelerated growth in emerging markets, but he said rigid exchange rate policies share the blame.
Bernanke will join a panel of central bankers at the gathering on Friday, including European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet, the Bank of England's Mervyn King and the PBOC's Zhou Xiaochuan.
Investors will continue to closely monitor political unrest in the Middle Easton Friday as crowds in Libya, Yemen, Iran and Bahrain took to the streets.
London Brent crude oil prices fell slightly, below $103 per barrel on Friday, while U.S. light sweet crude rose to nearly $87 a barrel as the tension fueled supply fears. (Read more: Crude Prices: Is the Brent-WTI Spread Unwinding?)