Crude oil price recovers to 67.3 as European stocks open higher. While the market's focus has been placed on central bank meetings later today, encouraging economic data in Europe boosted sentiment again. UK's FTSE 100 gains 0.2% while Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 added 0.7% in the morning.
USD's rebound loses momentum in European morning after the UK and Eurozone released better-than-expected housing and retail sales data. In the UK, Halifax house price index jumped +2.6% mom in May, compared with consensus of -1% and -1.7% in the previous month, signaling property price in the nation has stabilized. Retail sales in the 16-nation Eurozone rose +0.2% mom in April following a -0.1% decline in March. The market had anticipated a -0.2% drop. On annual basis, the gauge plunged -2.3%, less than market expectation of -2.9% than -3.4% a month ago. Against the euro, the greenback slides to 1.4208 after surging to 1.4109 yesterday. Against the pound, USD plunges to 1.6405 after rising to 1.621 in early trading.
Also boosted oil price was Goldman Sachs upward revision on its WTI oil estimates. The investment bank forecast WTI oil price will reach 85 by the end of 2008 and 95 by the end of 2010 as global economy will stabilize in the second half of this year and crude inventory will decline.
3 major central banks will meet today but will likely announce no change in policy rates. BOE is expected to keep interest rate unchanged at 0.5% and continue with the 125B pound asset buying program announced last month.
ECB will also made no change in that 1% main refinancing rate but the market anticipates the central bank will give more details (current progress and expansion of the program) on the 60B euro plan on purchase of covered bonds denominated in euro. Furthermore, the ECB will also release June' staff economic projection. Analysts forecast GDP growth will be revised down to -4% (from -2.7%) in 2009 while that in 2010 will remain at +0%. Inflation outlook is also anticipated to be revised down to +0.2% and +0.6% from +0.1% and 1%, respectively, in 2009 and 2010.
For BOC, the Governor explicitly stated in April's meeting that interest will stay at 0.25% until the second quarter of 2010 in order to achieve inflation target. BOC has remained silent about quantitative easing though the central bank briefly mentioned the possibility of adopting these measures. While we do not have much expectation that BOC will talk about it today, the need for some kinds of unconventional measures has increased. Almost 10% increase in CAD against USD has created a tightened monetary condition and would also hurt the nation's exports.
Gold price edges higher on dollar's pullback while silver price has little change. Platinum futures price added +0.1% to 1244.5 yesterday, in contrast with losses in other precious metals. The white metal continues to rise to 1253 today. The firmness in price suggests that the underlying strength in the metal and investors have started to rebuild confidence in auto demand.