Oh sure I can talk about Iran and The possibility of cracks showing in the EU oil embargo but let's face it today at least for awhile it jobs baby jobs! The oil market has been driven to and fro with a lot of bullish and bearish forces at play but the strength of the US jobs market will be the determining g factor as to wither we go higher or lower today. Oil was able to shake off a bearish Department of Energy Inventory report in part because there are worries about the resolve of Europe to embargo Iranian oil. Other counties such as Japan and other Asian refiners are looking for alternative sources of oil which of course would be short term bullish. Yet with weak demand short term right now there is no fear that there will be a shortfall of oil. But back to the bullish word that China will imports a record amount of oil in 2012 as they look to rebuild and expand their strategic reserves. And on balance strong economic data in the US! Now the final piece of all of these forces will be Jobs, baby Jobs.

Reuters News Reported that Japan's biggest refiner JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp is talking with top exporter Saudi Arabia and other oil producers to source crude to replace any disruption to its imports from Iran, the company's president said on Thursday. Fresh U.S. sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program could make it difficult for refiners in Japan, Iran's number three crude buyer, to pay Tehran for its oil. Japan is seeking an exemption to U.S. sanctions that President Barack Obama signed into law on Saturday. The sanctions, if enforced, would penalize financial institutions for undertaking transactions with Iran's central bank, exposing the U.S. operations of Japanese banks that deal with Iran.

Bloomberg News Reported The leader of financially struggling Italy questioned the scope and timing of a possible European Union halt to Iranian oil purchases, raising an obstacle to stiffer sanctions on Iran's nuclear activities. Penalties set to be announced on Jan. 30 should be phased in and exempt crude sold by Iran to pay off debts to Eni SpA, Italy's largest oil company, Prime Minister Mario Monti said. An oil embargo is conceivable as long as it remains gradual and excludes the deliveries that serve to reimburse the billion euros in debts that Iran owes to Eni, our national company, Monti told France's Le Figaro in an interview published today. Europe's sanctions threat and an Iranian demand that U.S. warships stay out of the Persian Gulf have stirred new tensions between Iran and the West, contributing to higher energy prices. EU sanctions decisions require that all 27 member states go along. An oil-supply dislocation might further damage the economies of Italy and Greece, two countries at the forefront of the European debt crisis. Italy is battling to get by without a bailout and Greece is seeking a second package.

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Phil Flynn
Research Division
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