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Oil Prices Recover But Technical Resistance Looms Ahead

Oil Prices Recover But Technical Resistance Looms Ahead

2010-03-17 11:28:00
Ilya Spivak, Sr. Currency Strategist
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Commodities - Energy

Oil Prices Recover But Technical Resistance Looms Ahead

Crude Oil (WTI)       $82.32       +$0.62       +0.76%
Oil prices reversed sharply higher as the interest rate announcement from the Federal Reserve saw policymakers maintain language calling for borrowing costs to remain “exceptionally low…for an extended period” with no additional dissenters other than Tom Hoenig, the head of the Kansas City Fed who also dissented last month. Still, the gains look corrective for the time being with prices stalling ahead of support-turned-resistance at a rising trend line set from the bottom in early February. The economic calendar may offer the bulls new catalysts with the US Department of Energy expected to report the smallest increase in crude inventories in seven weeks. Risk sentiment presents a wildcard with investors watching carefully as the Fed’s current chairman Ben Bernanke and former chief Paul Volcker testify on bank regulation before the US House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee. Crude has a 0.60 percent-change correlation to the S&P 500 financials index, meaning prices are likely to respond if Bernanke and Volcker’s testimony ignites volatility in US bank shares.

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Commodities - Metals

Gold, Silver Advance on FOMC Outcome, PPI on Tap Ahead

Gold       $1131.79       +$4.09       +0.36%
Prices broken through the top of a minor falling channel and are now testing above support-turned-resistance resistance at a rising trend line established from the swing low in early February. Short-term correlation studies suggest the metal’s sensitivity to risk trends has been substantially eroded for the time being, making the lingering effects of yesterday’s dovish Fed policy statement the key fundamental catalyst. Indeed, a Credit Suisse gauge of priced-in rate hike expectations has dropped to show the markets forecasting just 63bps of tightening over the next 12 months versus 76bps yesterday ahead of FOMC. February’s Producer Price Index figures may help to reinforce this theme with expectations calling for wholesale inflation to decline 0.2 percent from the previous month, marking the first decline in give months, which could play into expectations of a Fed that does not feel obliged to act given lackluster upward pressure on the price level.

Silver       $17.56       $0.10       0.57%
The outlook for silver is largely in line with that gold, with the outlook for monetary policy (and the role of PPI in its formulation) as the key items to watch in the near term. Prices are testing range resistance at $17.52, with a push higher leaving the door open for an advance to challenge the $18.00 figure.

031710 2


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