OIL & CURRENCY MARKETS
Since August, both crude oil and currency markets have been influenced by lower economic growth expectations in countries outside the United States. Prices in both markets recently broke out of established trading ranges, driven by concerns about weaker future global demand. The current situation, with the dollar index and oil prices moving in opposite directions, presents a sharp contrast to one in which crude oil supply disruptions or geopolitical risks would cause both the dollar index and crude prices to rise.
Although the U.S. economy showed robust growth in the third quarter of 2014, recording an estimated 3.5% growth rate, economic data from Europe and China have led to expectations of potentially weaker demand for crude oil. Eurozone gross domestic product (GDP) growth was 0.2% in the third quarter, and inflation was low at 0.3% and 0.4% in September and October, respectively. In China, third-quarter GDP growth was 7.3%, the lowest annual growth rate since first-quarter 2009.
The divergence of growth expectations between the United States and the rest of the world is also reflected in currency markets. As economic growth slows in countries other than the United States, it increases the likelihood that their central banks will implement further steps to stimulate growth, like the recent announcement of rate cuts and quantitative easing by the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan. In the United States, stronger economic growth led the Federal Reserve to end its quantitative easing program and raises the possibility of increases in interest rates next year. These opposing shifts in monetary policy had the combined effect of increasing the value of the U.S. dollar against other world currencies (as measured by the U.S. dollar index) by 8.1% from August 1 to November 17.
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REUTERS - India’s natural gas consumption is expected to rise to 70 billion cubic metres (bcm) by 2022 and 100 bcm by 2030, according to a government think tank and the Oxford Institute of Energy Studies, up from 50 bcm now. India burns just 7 percent of what top user the United States consumes in a year with about a quarter of India’s population.
Norway, which relies on oil and gas for about a fifth of economic output, would be less vulnerable to declining crude prices without its fund investing in the industry, the central bank said Thursday. The divestment would mark the second major step in scrubbing the world’s biggest wealth fund of climate risk, after it sold most of its coal stocks.
WSJ - Light, sweet crude for December delivery rose $1.41, or 2.6%, to $56.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, snapping a three-session losing streak. Brent, the global benchmark, advanced $1.36, or 2.2%, to $62.72 a barrel.
U.S. Rig Count is up 327 rigs from last year's count of 588, with oil rigs up 267, gas rigs up 61, and miscellaneous rigs down 1 to 1. Canada Rig Count is up 24 rigs from last year's count of 184, with oil rigs up 9 and gas rigs up 15.