Oil prices remained firm in European session despite a softer report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Sentiment remained buoyed by speculations of ECB's resumption of bond purchases. Investors were also bolstered by stronger-than-expected industrial production in the Eurozone. The front-month contract for WTI crude oil price climbed to a 4-day high of 103.32.
In the April oil report by the IEA, global oil demand is expected to rise to 89.9M bpd in 2012, up +0.8M bpd or +0.9% from 2011. The forecast is -0.02 barrels below the March projection. Oil supply unexpectedly increased despite the situation in Iran. The agency estimated that global oil inventories may have increased by more than 1 mmb in 1Q12. As the IEA stated in the report, the cycle of repeatedly tightening fundamentals evident since 2009 has been broken for now ... The earlier tide of remorseless market tightening looks to have turned.
Concerning macroeconomic data released in the European session, Eurozone's industrial production rose +0.5% m/m in February, compared with a -0.3% drop as expected and a downwardly revised flat reading in January. In the UK, trade deficits surprisingly widened to 8.8B pound from 7.9B pound in the prior month. The market had anticipated an improvement of the trade condition to 7.6B pound.
In the US, initial jobless claims probably dipped -2K to 355K in the week ended April 7. The country's trade deficit might have narrowed modestly to US$ 52.0B in February from US$ 52.6B a month ago. Input prices in the countries might have eased to +3.3% y/y in March from +3.3% in the prior month.