Crude oil extends strength in European session as the market pays more attention to macroeconomic data while growth threats from Eurozone's sovereign crisis. Stock markets in Asia and Europe rally and trigger buying interests in oil. WTI crude oil jumps to 73.67, trading at a premium to Brent crude (73.56) for the first time since April 12. Chinese officials' denial of reducing Eurozone bond holdings and pledge to continue investing in the region also boosted sentiment.
Trading below 1220, gold changes little after rising over the past 3 days. Any pullback in gold can be treated as buying opportunity. We are bullish on the metal in the medium- to long-term. Investment demand remains strong amid flight for safety as global economic outlook has been obscured by sovereign crisis in the Eurozone. Holdings in SPDR gold Trust have been surging to new highs.
Dataflow in Asia was encouraging. Japanese exports grew for a 5th month in April while New Zealand posted higher-than-expected trade surplus. According to the Ministry of Finance, Japan's trade surplus, seasonally adjusted, dipped -5.02% m/m to 729.1B yen in April with imports and exports rising +3.4% and +2.3% respectively. Despite the drop, the positive signs came from increase in imports which signals recovery in domestic demand. At the same time, growth in exports has been picking up steadily since February after a spike of +7% growth in January. Note that the April data has not factored in the worst of sovereign crisis and readings in coming months should be monitored. In New Zealand, trade surplus surged +11.2% m/m to NZD 656M in April, compared with market expectations of NZD 455M.
Asian stocks advanced with the MSCI Asian Pacific Index soaring +1.8%, the biggest rise in 2 weeks. Regional indices demonstrated broad-based rally. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average gaining +1.23%, Korea's Kospi jumping +1.60% and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index surging +1.67% respectively. Mining shares in Australia rallied after news reported that the government may raise the threshold of 'super' profit to 11-12% from 6%. The government announced on May 2 that a 40% tax will be applied to mining profits of 6% or above from 2012.
European stocks open higher with major indices jumping more than +2% while the euro rebounds from a 4-year low against the dollar. In response to a rumor saying China is reducing holdings of Eurozone's bonds, State Administration of Foreign Exchange said in its website that the country is a long-term investor and Europe will remain its major investment market.
In US session, GDP growth for 1Q10 will likely be revised up to +3.5% annualized from +3.2% while real PCE will be revised to +3.9% annualized from +3.6% initially. Moreover, initial jobless claims probably fell to 435K in the week ended May 22 from 471K in the prior week.