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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dominick Chirichella: Crude Oil Prices steady Despite Clear Signs of Slowing Asian Markets

In another clear sign of the slowing of the Asian economy the Reserve Bank of Australian (RBA) cuts its short term interest rate by 25 basis points as it attempts to offset the closing of mines and laying off of thousands of workers. Short term interest rates are now at the lowest level since 2009. Australia is a commodity dependent country with many of those commodities exported to China. With China and most of the developed world continuing to slow commodity consumption is also slowing. The Australian economy is being directly impacted by the slowing of commodity consumption. Australia's action is not only a negative for the Australian currency but a bearish sign for oil demand growth as well as other traditional commodity consumption growth.

On the European front the market continues to watch what Spain will or will not do regarding asking for a bailout. The fact that both sides of this ongoing act continue to try to position themselves prior to a request it creates an atmosphere of uncertainty over the EU sovereign debt issues as well as the EU economy. In addition the Greek situation remains unclear as discussions continue on whether or not Greece will get its next scheduled batch of bailout money. Aside from those issues clouding the EU landscape there is not much else going on in Europe today.

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In the US Fed Chairman Bernanke defended his actions with QE3 yesterday in a speech. He basically said QE3 will stimulate growth, cut unemployment and help savers support the US dollar. In my view that is one tall order and one that I still do not see exactly how QE3 is going to do all of that so seamlessly since the US has already had QE1, QE2 and Operations Twist (which is still ongoing) and the US economy is still contracting while unemployment is not improving. Interestingly I would have to say the market is not yet convinced of Mr. Bernanke's claims as there has not been a sustained rally in risk asset markets since QE3 has been announced. It has been a rather tepid reaction in the market. Supporting oil prices a tad was the better than expected ISM factory index (an energy sensitive index) which increased to 51.5 in September which was above the consensus forecasts.....Read the entire article at CME

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