Bernanke’s Jackson Hole speech supported the price of oil on Friday – the front month contract (ICE) gained 1.7 percent and in the late evening was seen just shy of 115 USD per barrel level.
Meanwhile, the CFTC regular weekly report showed on Friday that speculators net position rose to the highest level since early May. The increase was driven by both increase in long positions and decrease in short positions – the long-to-short ratio reached 5.41, i.e. nearly a five-month high. ICE will release its Commitment of Traders report (containing information about Brent futures) today in the afternoon.
As regards a possible release of oil from strategic reserves by the IEA, Germany and Italy said on Friday that they stay in opposition for such a move. They both say that the market remained, despite lower Iranian exports, well supplied. The IEA’s head, Maria van der Hoeven, maintains view that the emergency stocks should be used only in case of significant disruption to oil production (such as Libyan war last year). Recall that few IEA members, namely the US, France and Britain, were said to be in talks about the release in recent weeks.
Despite the fact that China’s PMI pointed to a further deterioration of sentiment in August, the price of copper breached back above 7600 USD per ton level as weaker PMI spurred bets on further monetary easing.
On Friday, the price of gold surged by more than 2 percent in a response to the long-awaited Bernanke’s speech.
He didn’t announce the imminent start of another bond purchasing programme, but he did defend past non-conventional measures, saying they were effective and helped the economy in the face of strong headwinds. As it was only the timing of such a move that was missed, the initial disappointment disappeared rapidly and after the 15 USD fall, the price of the yellow metal surged to 1690 USD per troy ounce level, i.e. a five-month high. For a more exhaustive comment on Bernanke’s speech, please see our Weekly Pulse that will be published late today.