Despite Moody's downgrade and disappointing confidence data in the Eurozone, growth assets remain firm in European session. In the commodity sector, WTI crude oil grinds higher to 76 after brief pullback in late NY session yesterday and Asian session today amid speculations on decline in crude inventory. Bigger-than-expected oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico also helped support price. Currently trading at 77, Brent's strength has been boosted by Singapore Mercantile Exchange's announcement that it will launch Brent futures denominated in euro.
Eurozone's ZEW economic sentiment plummeted in June, signaling investors' concerns that fiscal-consolidation measures in debt-ridden countries will hinder growth. The index for the 16-nation region slid to 18.8 in June from 37.6 in May, compared with market expectations of a rise to 39. In Germany, the reading also tumbled to 28.7 from 45.8 in May. Consensus was 42.
In the US, the Empire State Manufacturing index is expected to have risen to 19.95 in June from 19.11 a month ago, while the NAHB housing market index stayed flat at 22 in June.
Oil's firmness despite weaker-than-expected economic data as investors anticipate another week of crude inventory draw. Analysts forecast crude oil stockpile dropped -1.75 mmb last week while gasoline and distillate inventories rose +0.63 mmb and +1 mmb, respectively. API's report will provide guidance after market close today.
Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico also lends support to price. Last Thursday, The US government estimated that the well was leaking 20K to 40K bpd, compared with previous forecasts of 12K to 19K bpd. While BP will adopt new methods to contain the spills, the problem has been the worst in US history. We are worried that the US government may implement further regulations on drilling in the future and this should affect oil production in the long-term.
Precious metals change little with Comex gold moving narrowly above 1220 in European session. While the yellow metal appears to have lost its glitter in recent days, financial institutions remain bullish on it long-term outlook.
According to Financial Times, some of the world's biggest banks and security companies are 'building vaults to store gold bars and coins worth tens of billions of dollars'. Commercial banks have been actively looking at the precious metal vaulting business it's highly profitable - rising bullion prices translate into higher storage fees, which are usually calculated as a percentage of the gold price'. At the same time, the Tokyo Stock Exchange yesterday approved the listing of 4 physically-backed precious metals ETFs (Gold, Platinum, Silver and Palladium) next month.