Sunday, September 16, 2012

Crude oil prices forecast september 17-21 2012

Crude oil prices forecast september 17-21 2012 : Crude oil prices climbed to the highest level since May on Friday, extending the previous session's strong Fed-inspired rally, as market players focused on rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and Africa.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in October rose 0.7% on Friday to settle at USD98.99 a barrel by close of trade.

Prices hit a session high of USD100.42 a barrel, the strongest level since May 4. New York-traded crude oil futures rallied 2.7% on the week.

Oil prices gained on Thursday after the Federal Reserve announced plans to launch a third round of quantitative easing in an effort to spur economic growth in the U.S.

The central bank said it will purchase USD40 billion of mortgage-backed securities every month until the labor market improves.

The Federal Open Market Committee also said it would likely keep the federal funds rate near zero through at least the middle of 2015. The prior guidance on the first rate increase had been late 2014.

The U.S. is the world’s biggest oil-consuming country, responsible for almost 22% of global oil demand.

The QE3 announcement sparked a sell-off in the greenback, which further boosted the appeal of dollar-denominated commodities.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the U.S. dollar against a basket of six other major currencies, lost 0.52% on Friday to settle at 78.98 by close of trade, the lowest since April 30. On the week, the index retreated 1.8%.

Oil prices typically strengthen when the U.S. currency weakens as the dollar-priced commodity becomes cheaper for holders of other currencies.

The Fed’s decision to undertake a third round of quantitative easing came a week after the European Central Bank unveiled its own bond purchasing program, dubbed Outright Monetary Transactions, and a day after Germany’s Constitutional Court allowed the euro zone’s permanent rescue fund to move forward.

Meanwhile, oil traders continued to monitor rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and Africa following attacks on numerous U.S. embassies across the region.

The violence in the Middle East and North Africa, which hold more than half of the world’s oil reserves, was prompted by extracts of a film that portrays Muhammad.

The unrest also follows the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three officials during an attack on consular buildings in Benghazi on September 11.

In the coming week, oil traders will continue to focus on violence across the Middle East, amid growing fears over a disruption to supplies from the region.

Market participants will also focus on Spain's fiscal health, amid ongoing speculation over how close the debt-strapped country is to asking for a full-blown euro zone bailout.

Spanish Finance Minister Luis de Guindos said Friday his country still needs time to see how support from the ECB would work before the government requested anything beyond its current bank bailout.

Separately, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde denied a report in a Dutch newspaper that the IMF and ECB were in discussions regarding a potential bailout for Spain.

Spain is to hold an auction of 10-year government bonds, which will be an important test of investor appetite for the country’s debt.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for November delivery settled at USD116.70 a barrel by close of trade on Friday. Prices touched a session high of USD117.94 a barrel earlier in the day, the strongest level since May 3.

The London-traded Brent contract rallied 2.3% over the week, with the spread between the Brent and the crude contracts standing at USD17.71 a barrel by close of trade Friday.

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