After plummeting for 6 consecutive days, by more than -10%, to as low as 70.13, crude oil recovers Thursday. Currently trading at 71, the front-month contract of WTI crude oil may record a gain today although a loss is inevitable on weekly basis.

Iraq's second oil licensing auction will be held Friday and Saturday. A total of 10 unexplored oil and gas field, totaling over 35B barrels of proven reserves will be auctioned. According to the government, 44 oil companies around the world will participate in the bidding process.

In June, the country held the first auction and only a BP-CNPC consortium was awarded contract which allowed the group to explore the Rumalia field in returned for a fee of $2/bbl produced. After that, the government also awarded the ENI consortium a contract to develop Zubair field and the Exxon Mobil consortium to develop the West Qurna -1 field.

While Iraq has strived to re-prosper its oil industry after the Persian invasion in 2003, it's yet to be successful. In fact, political uncertainty and instability continue to obstruct development in the country.

Gold initially rebounded to 1137.7 earlier today but price was then pressed to 1125 again.

Both the SNB and BOE decided to leave policy rates unchanged. The SNB, while maintaining the three-month Libor target at 0.25%, announced that it will stop purchases of corporate bonds, a sign of withdrawal non-conventional monetary policies. Although acknowledging economic recovery, the central bank expressed concerns over deflation and kept the inflation forecasts almost the same as 3 months ago.

BOE announced its policy rate will stay at 0.5% and the asset purchase program will be maintained at 200B pound. If there's no dramatic economic development in coming month, we anticipate January's meeting will be the same non-eventful as policymakers probably want to wait until February 2010, when the new Quarterly Inflation Report will be published, before announcing any new measures.

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