Weekly outlook for Crude oil, Natural gas and Gold 20-24 Dec

Here is a weekly outlook for the week of December 20th to 24th showing the main news items and reports that will be published this coming week mainly about the US, Japan and EURO economies; This outlook will provide some insight on how the prices of major commodities such as crude oil prices and natural gas prices might be affected from these news items. The repots include the following (all times GMT):

  1. Monday 20th of December – Euro area balance of payments report by the European Central Bank: This monthly report will present the seasonally adjusted current account of the euro area (i.e. the difference between the value the value of imports and exports of goods and services. In the last report (for September 2010) it showed a deficit of 13.1 billion Euros, which was an increase of 6.2 billion Euros compare to August 2010. This rise was mainly due to the increase in current transfers’ deficit and income deficit as well. On the other hand, in regards to goods, the euro area recoded a surplus of 1.8 billion euros. The report shows the economic condition of the euro area and, among other, its supply and demand for goods and services to and from other countries; this could show Europe’s role in affecting the demand for major commodities;
  2. Tuesday 21st of December 23.50PM – Report of Japanese Trade balance (for November): The Japanese trade balance for the month of October showed a decrease of 33 billion YEN compare to September, which is a decrease of 5.4%, reaching 578 billion Yen (seasonally adjusted figures). Japan is among the leading countries in importer of commodities, such as Crude oil and Gold, and its trade balance could provide insight on Japan’s economy and its demands for such commodities;
  3. Wednesday 22nd of December 15.30PM – EIA report about Crude oil inventories: The EIA will issue its weekly report about the changes in the US’s inventories of crude oil and crude oil related products, such as gasoline and propane. These data will help understand the fluctuations in crude oil prices and the changes in the demand for crude oil. Last week’s report showed a fall of 0.9% in crude oil stocks, which is a drop of over 9.8 million barrels of crude oil. As the winter progress we will probably continue seeing a decline in crude oil stocks. Nonetheless, crude oil prices don’t seem to  be affected by this decrease in stocks as there is no apparent shortage to meet the rising demands (see here to read my previous review on last week’s report);
  4. Thursday 23rd of December 13.30PM – Department of Labor report about US unemployment claims: The weekly report will show the unadjusted and seasonally adjusted data of last week’s unemployment claims. For the week ending on 11th of Dec, the report showed a decrease in initial claims of 3,000, settling on 420,000 claims; and for the week ending on 4th of Dec there wasn’t a change from previous week, in insured unemployment figures of 3.3%; on the other hand, the number of insured unemployment for the week of Dec 4th was 4.135 million, an increase of 22,000. This is one of the indicators for the US economy’s condition; if the report this week will show some progress and recovery in the US economy, it could provide a signal for investors to reconsider investing in the US; consequentially, this might increase the value of the US dollar compare to major currencies and thus reduce the appeal of commodities and thus decrease their price.
  5. Thursday 23rd of December 15.30PM – EIA report about Natural gas storage: The EIA (Energy Information Administration) will issue its weekly report about the changes in the number of cubic feet of natural gas held in storage compare to the previous week in the US (see here to read my previous review on last week’s report). The Natural Gas Working Underground Storage showed last week a decrease of 4.4% from the previous week, reaching 3,561 (Billion Cubic Feet) for all lower 48 states. This repot has an effect not only on the natural gas market in the US, but also in Canada (a major player in this market). As expected, there was a rise in demand of Natural Gas for heating purposes as temperatures in Northeast US fell for the months of November and December; however, in the last couple of weeks Natural gas prices didn’t rise, and if any, they fell sharply probably due to the high storage levels and good supplies;
  6. Friday 25th of December: Christmas!

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