WTI crude oil retreats after briefly rising above 80. The November contract will expire today while the more active December contract is currently trading at 79.68. Apart from pullback in stock markets and recovery in USD, OPEC's comments also weigh on the commodity.
OPEC's secretary-general, Abdalla El-Badri, said that the group is not comfortable if oil price surges to 100 and there's no shortage of oil. Concerning current price level or almost 80, El-Badri said that its 'a little bit high'.
Despite lowered correlation between oil price and stock markets, profit-taking in equities in European morning causes investors to trim positions in crude oil. The retreat was trigged by Qatar's sales of its Barclays stakes. In the UK, the FTSE 100 Index slides -0.13% to 5275.
Gold price rebounds to 1069 today. Last week, CME Group announced that it allows investors to use gold as collateral for trades on all its markets as an alternative to debt or equities with limits is up to $200M.The decision should benefit gold further in longer term as it's likely that other exchanges will follow and it signals USD's popularity as the world's reserve currency has been reducing.
In Europe, finance ministers expressed concerns about euro's strength and backed the US' strong-dollar stance after a meeting of euro area meeting in Luxembourg. In another occasion, ECB President Trichet said that 'excessive volatility is bad for economic development'. French finance minister also said that 'we want a strong dollar'. Since February, the euro has risen almost +20% against the dollar.
On macro-data front, BOC meeting is today's focus. The bottom line is that the central bank will announce to keep its policy rate unchanged at +0.25% and reiterate the stance that 'conditional on the outlook for inflation, the target overnight rate can be expected to remain at its current level until the end of the second quarter of 2010 in order to achieve the inflation target'.
Since the last BOC meeting, economy has been recovering gradually with some upside surprises. For instance, unemployment rate surprisingly declined to 8.45 in September from 8.7% a month ago. Policymakers should acknowledge improvement in economic outlook. However, it's uncertain whether there will be upgrades on economic forecasts as the central bank releases its monetary policy report Thursday.
Other data investors should pay attention to is US PPI and housing starts. Consensus forecast headline PPI to have eased to +0.1% mom in September after rising +1.7% in the previous month. The drop was driven by decline in gasoline price. In fact, there's risk for the headline reading to be negative as gasoline PPI plunged -5% during the month. Housing starts probably rose +2% mom to 610K in September with single-home starts remaining to be the major driver.