Following the rise in the U.S consumer confidence index during February, this index changed direction and decreased in March.
According to the recent U.S. consumer confidence survey, the consumer confidence index declined in March compared with February’s index: The index reached in March 70.2 (1985=100) a slightly decrease of 1.4 percent points from 71.6 in February. American consumers’ short term outlook in U.S. business conditions has also weakened according to the report. On the other hand, the consumers’ assessment of current business and labor conditions has risen in March.
Note, this report was based on a survey conducted up to March 15th. In the past couple of weeks the situation seems to improve in the financial markets, (e.g. the American stock markets indexes rose).
This consumer confidence index may curb the recent rise in the natural gas prices: according to a study, there was a positive significant correlation between the “consumer confidence” news and natural gas prices i.e. this news has a positive linear relation with natural gas prices. Furthermore, the study also suggested a positive significant coefficient between this news and crude oil prices.
In this case, since the consumer confidence declined, this means this news might have an adverse effect on energy prices including oil and natural gas.
Yesterday when this consumer confidence survey was published, the U.S stock markets slightly declined including the DOW, S&P500 and NASDAQ. Natural gas prices sharply fell yesterday, while the crude oil were traded with mixed trend. All in all, there weren’t sharp shifts during yesterday’s trading except for the sharp drop in natural gas prices.
Currently major energy commodities are trading down:
Current Nymex crude oil price, short term futures (April 2012 delivery) is traded down by 0.19% to $106.72 per barrel as of 07:21*.
Current gold price, short term futures (April 2012 delivery) is traded at $1,679.7 per t oz. a $8 decrease as of 07:21*.
Euro to US dollar exchange rate is at 1.3327 a 0.08% increase as of 07:21*.
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