Commodities prices grew across the board on Monday and Brent crude was no exception; the price of the front-month contract (ICE) gained 0.63 percent and settled at 103.81 USD per barrel (USD/bbl). In spite of recent gains, Brent is heading for the worst monthly performance since May last year. ICE Commitment of Traders data released yesterday confirmed that speculators’ view on oil markets remains the most bearish in months –money managers’ net position in futures fell to the lowest level in more than four months . Even more interesting is the fact that number of traders betting on an increase in the oil price equals number of those betting on its further fall which has happened for the first time since June 2012. Bearish sentiment in crude was accompanied by record-low speculative positions in ICE gasoil contract.
As we have already noted, even though we maintain our medium term bearish view on the oil price, we believe that the recent sell-off was rather overdone and we expect the oil price to rise slightly on backdrop of rising refinery demand for light grades in weeks ahead.
In April, gold is set to post the largest monthly loss since December 2011 although the market for physical metal has seen surge in activity. Since the sharp price fall earlier this month, demand for the physical metal across the globe has increased significantly and pushed up physical premiums - for example, physical premiums in Hong Kong more than doubled.
Regarding the Fed meeting that starts today, but concludes tomorrow, the Fed will most likely keep its policy unchanged. There are no new forecasts and no press conference after the meeting, which makes an eventual change in policy unlikely. Recent eco data have been weak, another good reason not to change the pace of asset purchases. We think this is more or less expected by the market. In other words, we believe the meeting poses no significant risks for the price of gold in either direction.