Abnormal winter and the energy sector

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Market Watch review. 17.02.2021

In today's release, we’ll cover the following topics:

  • Rising gas and oil prices. 
  • Fear index. 
  • Overall strengthening of risky currencies. 
  • Retail sales in the United States. 

I will start today's release with a noticeable drop in temperatures in both Europe and the United States. Of course, the cold winter increases the physical demand for energy resources, including gas and oil, thereby pushing prices up. So the sharp deterioration in weather conditions in the central part of the United States led to an energy crisis and even power outages in some American cities.

As a result, the price of American WTI crude oil continues to rise, once again updating the highs since the beginning of 2020. It is noteworthy that oil prices rose above the $60 per barrel mark. Let me remind you that at the beginning of this month, we discussed this goal as quite ambitious and medium-term. Accordingly, further deterioration of weather conditions and the growth of the US stock market may return oil prices to a local maximum of a little above $65 per barrel.

Having partially touched upon the topic of the growth of the American stock market, I would like to draw your attention to the rapid decline in the so-called Fear index, which at the beginning of this year rose above 80 points, and is already at 20 points, thereby indicating a high investor interest in risk. As a consequence, the demand for the US dollar may remain weak until an unexpectedly strong negative fundamental factor appears in the market.

If we look at the foreign exchange market, we will see full confirmation of the growing demand for risky currencies. Thus, the AUD/USD currency pair is approaching the maximum of this year, while the GBP/USD pair has already reached the maximum values since April 2018. And without the appearance of unexpected and extremely strong events, the general trend in the market will continue, which means that these currency pairs still have the potential for growth.

And now let's move on to the upcoming events. Today, Britain and Canada will report on the change in consumer inflation. At the same time, the report on changes in the volume of retail trade in the United States remains a more significant event that can have a noticeable impact on the market. Economists predict a moderate increase in the indicator, so its unexpected decline can put additional pressure on the USD, although in the longer term, such a development will strengthen the US currency.

Closely monitor the news background and be prepared for all the surprises of the market.

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