Federal Reserve Policy Boosts Commodity Futures – Oil Prices Continue to Climb as JPY and USD Slide

NYMEX WTI Crude Oil graph

(Best Syndication News) The U.S. dollar came under pressure as equity markets rebound Thursday (see forex and commodity charts below). Gold, silver, oil, and gasoline prices increased during the session.

Several factors are working on oil prices. The Iranian situation has put upward pressure on Brent and light sweet crude oil prices. Tensions between Iran and the United States and Europe have pushed Brent crude oil futures over $120 a barrel.

The U.S. central bank policy is also playing a role. St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President, James Bullard, told reporters Friday that Fed policy has bled through to higher stock and commodity pricing. “This is a serious issue for the committee to consider,” Bullard said.

Loose monetary policy has also helped equities, along with positive economic conditions. An improve employment situation and housing market is providing investor confidence.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), an agency created in 2008 to regulate the secondary lending market, said that housing prices increased in December. FHFA Economist Andrew Leventis believes this shows that real estate markets are showing some “signs of life.”

Although their housing price index (HIP) increased 0.7 percent in December (month-on-month), the index declined 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 (year-on-year). Analysts still see the report as positive.

The Labor Department said that initial jobless claims last week were unchanged compared to the previous week. There were 351,000 new claims on a seasonally adjusted basis. Analysts had expected the number to jump to 360,000.

Precious Metals

April gold on the COMEX added another fifteen dollars Thursday. Since the session close, gold slipped $5.70 to 1786.30 a troy ounce (see the survey #2 settle price chart below).

Silver prices for March delivery jumped nearly one percent Thursday. Early Friday, silver dropped 19 cents to $35.556 an ounce. The ratio between gold and silver tightened to 50.2.

Platinum and palladium were higher; however copper prices dropped. Hot-Roll Coil Steel and Uranium were unchanged again.

Futures traveled in different directions on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM). Silver and gold prices advanced, but palladium and platinum prices declined. See the TOCOM chart below for our exclusive yen / gram to dollar / ounce conversions.

Energy Prices

Light sweet crude oil (WTI) prices jumped over one percent Thursday (see survey #2 chart below). Brent crude oil on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) gained one-half of one percent. The spread between Brent and WTI crude oil tightened to $15.71.

WTI added another 33 cents to $107.83 early Friday.

Natural gas prices fell, but heating oil climbed higher.

Economists worry that higher oil prices could hurt the economy. The Transpiration sector has already been affected.

World Forex Trading and Currency Exchange Rates

The Swiss franc (CHF) gained against all major currencies while the Japanese yen (JPY) declined (see the cross tables below).

The US dollar (USD) fell against all major currencies with the exception of the JPY (see the average dollar chart below). The USD declined 0.27 percent vs the Australian dollar (AUD), 0.89 percent vs the euro (EUR), 0.54 percent vs the British pound sterling (BPS), and only slightly vs the Canadian dollar (CAD).

The trend continued throughout the day (see intraday chart below). The USD/JPY hit 80.53, the EUR/USD hit 1.3413, the GBP/USD hit 1.5801, the CAD/USD hit 0.9973, the USD/HKD hit 7.7549, and the AUD/USD hit 1.0738.

By: Tom Madison
Business Reporter

TOCOM Chart with our exclusive dollar pound and barrel conversions:

2/23/2012 Tokyo Commodities Exchange One-Day One-Day Five-Day 30-Day 100-Day
Yen * Commodity Dollars ¥ Change Change Change Change Change
4,617 Gold (standard) $1,793.52 31 0.68% 4.43% 13.61% 15.69%
91.1 Silver $32.32 3 2.94% 7.56% 23.95% 23.95%
4,454 Platinum (standard) $1,730.20 -29 -0.65% 6.76% 20.54% 17.89%
1,846 Palladium $717.10 -10 -0.54% 4.06% 15.23% 19.25%
74,110 Gasoline $3.50 390 0.53% 4.35% 14.00% 23.95%
59,740 Crude oil $118.63 480 0.81% 4.68% 14.71% 26.54%
339.9 Rubber $1.93 2 0.62% 6.89% 21.83% 10.29%
50.68 Ratio Gold/Silver -1.14 6 -2.20% -2.90% -8.34% -6.66%
* ¥ / gram kiloliter and kilogram PST - conversions to $ / ounce barrel or gallon

Survey #2 Settle Price Chart:

Thursday Survey # 2 (BSNCOM2) One-Day One-Day 1 Week 30-Day 100-Day
2/23/2012 Energy and Metal Settle $ Change % Change % Change % Change % Change
2272.00 Aluminum 3-mo LME 20.00 0.89% 2.50% 5.45% 2.25%
123.62 Brent crude (not settled) 0.72 0.59% 4.21% 9.66% 18.92%
61.75 Coal 1.38 2.29% 5.11% -5.15% -16.97%
3.81 Copper HG -0.03 -0.72% 0.12% 7.33% 17.25%
107.83 Crude oil (WTI) 1.55 1.46% 5.92% 6.90% 31.28%
2.21 Ethanol ZE CBOT 0.01 0.41% 0.64% -2.51% -13.23%
1786.30 Gold GC 15.00 0.85% 3.37% 8.95% 10.45%
3.29 Heating Oil (HO) 0.02 0.69% 3.24% 7.51% 16.92%
2.62 Natural gas NG HH -0.02 -0.83% 8.08% -5.52% -30.05%
718.40 Palladium PA 0.65 0.09% 5.08% 11.36% 15.29%
1723.00 Platinum PL 2.20 0.13% 5.18% 15.13% 12.74%
3.11 RB RBOB Gasoline 0.03 0.84% 3.56% 12.68% 18.88%
35.56 Silver SI 1.30 3.80% 6.43% 18.96% 16.49%
728.00 Steel Hot-Roll Coil 0.00 0.00% 0.00% -0.68% 7.85%
52.15 UxC Uranium U3O8 0.00 0.00% 0.00% 0.38% 0.19%
2/23/2012 Averages and Ratios Change One-Day 1 Week 30-Day 100-Day
382.3 Average All 1.63 0.43% 3.77% 9.46% 11.45%
719.9 Metals Average 3.19 0.44% 4.35% 11.70% 12.06%
43.5 Energy Average 0.53 1.23% 4.98% 5.14% 11.85%
50.2 Ratio Gold/Silver Prices -1.47 -2.85% -2.88% -8.41% -5.19%
-63.3 Difference Plat-Gold -12.80 25.35% -29.59% -55.73% -28.88%
1.04 Ratio Plat/Gold 0.01 0.72% -1.72% -5.37% -2.03%
1.1 Ratio Brent / WTI Prices -0.01 -0.86% -1.62% 2.58% -9.41%
$15.79 Difference Brent - CL -0.83 -4.99% -6.18% 33.14% -27.60%

Average Dollar Rates;

Thursday Average Surveys 1 - 3 % Change Day % Change Wk % Ch 30-Day Ch 100-Day
2/23/2012 Average 1US$ = Currency Pos=$US Gain Pos=$US Gain Pos=$US Gain Pos=$US Gain
0.9323 Average Against Aussie -0.27% 0.34% -3.81% -10.02%
0.7453 Average Against Euro € -0.89% -2.06% -4.43% 0.04%
80.5629 Average Against Yen ¥ 0.60% 1.75% 4.87% 4.63%
0.6329 Average Against Pound £ -0.54% 0.26% -2.89% -1.48%
0.8980 Average Against Franc -0.92% -2.30% -4.90% -0.98%
0.9975 Average Against Canadian 0.00% 0.17% -2.08% -4.53%
Average 1Currency = US$ Pos=$US Loss Pos=$US Loss Pos=$US Loss Pos=$US Loss
1.0726 Average Against Aussie 0.27% -0.34% 3.96% 11.13%
1.3418 Average Against Euro 0.90% 2.11% 4.64% -0.04%
0.0124 Average Against Yen -0.59% -1.72% -4.64% -4.43%
1.5800 Average Against Pound 0.54% -0.26% 2.97% 1.50%
1.1136 Average Against Franc 0.93% 2.35% 5.16% 0.98%
1.0025 Average Against Canadian 0.00% -0.17% 2.12% 4.75%

Intraday Chart:

Green = $ UP Intra-Day Trend Green = $ UP
Red = $ Down 2/23/2012 Survey 5A Survey 5B Survey 5C Red = $ Down
From Previous Time PT 12:00 AM 6:00PM 9:30PM Intra-Day
-0.10% USD/JPY 80.07 80.33 80.53 0.57%
0.43% EUR/USD 1.3335 1.337 1.3413 0.58%
0.13% GBP/USD 1.5716 1.5744 1.5801 0.54%
0.07% CAD/USD 0.9988 0.9975 0.9973 -0.15%
0.00% USD/HKD 7.7556 7.7549 7.7547 -0.01%
0.13% AUD/USD 1.0684 1.0738 1.0738 0.51%
-0.04% USD/CNY 6.298 6.2973 6.2976 -0.01%

Cross Tables:

Survey 1 February 23 2012 6:00 PM
1 HKD 1 AUD 1 CAD 1 CHF 1 GBP 1 JPY 1 EUR 1 USD
USD $ 0.129 1.0728 1.0026 1.1138 1.58 0.0124 1.3421 -
EUR € 0.0961 0.7993 0.747 0.8299 1.1773 0.0093 - 0.7451
JPY ¥ 10.3855 86.3977 80.7484 89.7075 127.255 - 108.091 80.5385
GBP £ 0.0816 0.6789 0.6345 0.7049 - 0.0079 0.8494 0.6329
CHF franc 0.1158 0.9631 0.9001 - 1.4186 0.0111 1.2049 0.8978
CAD 0.1286 1.07 - 1.111 1.5759 0.0124 1.3386 0.9974
AUD 0.1202 - 0.9346 1.0383 1.4729 0.0116 1.2511 0.9322
HKD 8.3191 7.7751 8.6378 12.2531 0.0963 10.4079 7.7549

One-Day Change:

Pos Means Top Currency Gained One Day Change February 23 2012 6:00 PM
Survey 1 1 HKD 1 AUD 1 CAD 1 CHF 1 GBP 1 JPY 1 EUR 1 USD
USD 0.078% 0.299% 0.030% 0.943% 0.541% -0.800% 0.933%
EUR € -0.928% -0.634% -0.889% 0.012% -0.381% -1.064% -0.918%
JPY ¥ 0.525% 0.810% 0.548% 1.461% 1.059% 1.448% 0.513%
GBP £ -0.488% -0.250% -0.517% 0.385% 0.000% 0.390% -0.534%
CHF -0.856% -0.640% -0.903% -0.393% -1.770% -0.017% -0.938%
CAD 0.000% 0.262% 0.908% 0.504% -0.800% 0.897% -0.040%
AUD $ -0.249% -0.256% 0.649% 0.245% -0.855% 0.635% -0.289%
HKD 0.284% 0.023% 0.931% 0.532% -0.517% 0.919% -0.012%

30-Day Change:

Pos Means Top Currency Gained 30- Day Change February 23 2012 6:00 PM
Survey 1 1 HKD 1 AUD 1 CAD 1 CHF 1 GBP 1 JPY 1 EUR 1 USD
USD 0.23% 3.98% 2.12% 5.17% 2.97% -4.62% 4.66%
EUR -4.28% -0.65% -2.43% 0.50% -1.61% -8.82% -4.45%
JPY 5.09% 9.09% 7.14% 10.35% 8.03% 9.80% 4.91%
GBP -2.74% 0.98% -0.83% 2.14% -7.06% 1.64% -2.88%
CHF -4.77% -1.14% -2.91% -2.10% -9.76% -0.50% -4.92%
CAD -1.91% 1.83% 2.99% 0.83% -6.77% 2.48% -2.08%
AUD -3.69% -1.79% 1.15% -0.97% -7.94% 0.65% -3.83%
HKD 3.80% 1.95% 5.00% 2.79% -4.84% 4.48% -0.17%

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