Strong trading momentum in crude oil persists and the benchmark contract rises further to 72.7 in European morning. Investors remain thrilled by the huge draw in crude inventory despite weak fuel demand. Advance in equity markets and weakness in USD also support prices.

Stock markets in Europe open higher Thursday. UK's FTSE 100 Index climbs +1% tpo 5172 although the country's retail sales stayed flat in August from a month ago. The market had expected a +0.1% gain. On annual basis, the gauge rose +2.1% while July's sales were revised down to +2.9%. Both of DAX (Germany) and CAC 40 (France) gain +0.6% in morning session.

Stocks in Asia performed very well with the MSCI Asia Pacific Index rising +1.2%, In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average surged +1.7% to 10444 as the Bank of Japan upgraded its economic outlook on the nation. The BOJ stated that Japan' economy has shown 'signs of recovery', compared with the 'stopped worsening' comment made in the previous month. However, the central bank remained concerned about the downside risk to growth and hence maintained the policy rate at 0.1%.

Natural gas pares the 13% gain made yesterday as analysts anticipated gas storage rose +80 bcf to 3472 bcf in the week ended September 11.

Focus of the day will be SNB's rate decision. It's true that the unanimous view is that the SNB will keep the 3 month LIBOR target at 0.25%. However, we would like to see if the central bank will reaffirm the measure to prevent Swiss Franc from appreciation. In fact, we believe the SNB will likely reiterate this. Although the economic data have given positive surprises since the June's meeting, inflation pressure remains subdue in Switzerland's economy. Headline CPI picked up in August but remained in negative territory while core CPI continued trending further away from SNB's target of 2%. Therefore, the central bank will likely stick with its accommodative monetary policies as well as continue combating against strength in CHF.

The dollar plunges for the 4th consecutive day against the euro. A report stated that trade surplus in the Eurozone widened to 6.8B euro in July, compared with consensus of 1.2B euro, from 1B euro in the previous month. This further signaled improvement in global economic outlook and increased risk appetite for higher-yield assets.

Gold price reached another 2009-high at 1024.7 earlier today before pulling back slightly to 1018. ETF investments remain in record as indicated by ETF Securities' report. Bullion holdings in its funds reached a record of 8285M oz as of September 16. This represented increases of +1.6% from a week ago and +13.7% from a month ago. Meanwhile, holdings in SPDR Gold Trust also rose to 34.9M oz as of September 16.

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