Crude oil price rallied to a 7-week high at 73.84 Monday as driven by strong equity market and weak USD. While market sentiment once again pushed oil closer to the key resistance of 75, stagnant fundamentals in energy market refrained price from an upside break. The benchmark contract eventually settled at 73.27, gaining +0.7% from last Friday’s close.
For fuel products, heating oil jumped +2.2% to a 7-week high as US Climate Prediction Centre forecasts temperatures in the Northeast and Midwest will drop below normal between October 15 and October 25. Investors anticipated a colder weather should spur higher consumption in heating oil. As lead by strength in the energy complex, RBOB gasoline also climbed +1.8%.
Gold price pared Friday’s loss and rebounded +0.8% to 1057.5 yesterday with the decline in USD remaining the major driving force. Silver surged to almost a 3-month high at 17.955 before closing the day +0.7% higher at 17.82 while platinum added +0.6% to close at 1347.3.
Stocks in US strengthened with Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining +0.2% to 9885.8 and S&P 500 Average adding +0.4% to 1076.2, the highest in a year. Investors were excited as Black & Decker Corp upgraded its 3Q09 earning forecast and Ford Motors said its auto sales in Europe rose +12% in September.
USD weakened against major currencies except for Japanese yen and British pound. The dollar index fell to 76.12. Against higher-yield currencies such as the euro, Australian dollar and New Zealand dollar, USD dropped to 1.48, 0.908 and 0.736 respectively after a brief recovery last Friday. British pound weakened against the dollar and the euro as the Center for Economic and Business Research said the nation’s interest rate should stay at a record low of 0.5% at least until 2011. At the same time, the British Chambers of Commerce said that the BOE should extend its bond purchase program by 25B pound to 200B pound next month so as to support economic recovery. Currently trading at 5-month low against the dollar and 6-month low against the euro, the pound will stay under pressure for some time.
Today in Asia, commodity prices change little as the market awaits more data both from the macro and industry side. Stocks rally with the MSCI Asia Pacific Index soaring +0.5%. In Japan, Nikkei 225 Stock Average gains +1% to 10114 as Japan’s exports should benefit from weakness in yen. Retail sales in New Zealand surprisingly increased +1.1% mom in August, compared with consensus of a +0.6%gain, from a drop of -0.5% in the prior month. Excluding auto, the reading surged +1.2% during the month. The better-than-expected data should increase speculations that the RBNZ will increase its policy rate earlier than previous estimated. Currently, the market is pricing in a move in January 2010.