Sunday, February 19, 2012

Today's Major Market Move: WTI Crude Oil Futures Up 1.7% After Tonight's Open

Commodities markets opened a little over four hours ago and right out of the gate WTI Crude Futures shot up 1.7% to breach the $105/barrel level. WTI is now up 35% since October of last year and is just $9 away from the 2011 highs:

Click here to go to the live chart.
Year to date WTI is up over 6% which is no small potatoes, however refined Gasoline is up over 14% which explains why I've been hearing more "high prices at the gas pump" stories in the main stream media lately (we present exhibit A courtesy of the AP via the Boston Globe). Here's a comparison chart of the pricing of petroleum based commodities going back to the beginning of the year:

Click here to go to the live chart.
We talked about the rising price of Brent just two days ago on Friday and in that post we quoted an article which speculated that the main driver for recent rising fuel prices was geopolitical tension in Iran, Syria, et. al. However the fact that we continue to see central bank intervention in propping up markets in Europe, Japan, the U.S. and other locales may be playing a significant role as well. Zerohedge recently posted a chart which shows the balance sheet expansion of the central banks of China, Japan, the U.S. and of Europe going back to 2002. Here's a reference point: the JCB came in last and their balanced grew by 100%.

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